It just so happens that I have the best dad ever. Well, the best dad for ME anyway. He’s a mechanic, so he knows all the ins and outs of tools. And considering my love and use of tools, this comes in handy.
This summer, my tumbler bit the dust. I use my tumbler a LOT, so I was really bummed. I hadn’t had it very long either, but it was past the warranty date, so I was out of luck. I had just started to hit my groove with a new style of jewelry, and, unfortunately, that style was much more easily made with the use of a tumbler. I make these discs that I have shown you before:
Well, I’m sure you can imagine how much fun it is to file the edges of each and every one of those suckers. Yup, that’s right. It’s not. fun. at. all. So I had a handy-dandy tumbler to do it for me (it saves me a lot of time, and therefore saves $ for the buyers!) Until it pooped out.
So of course I talked to my dad about it the next time I spoke with him. I just like to discuss tools with him. I was certainly not expecting anything from him when I mentioned it. But he just happens to casually mention that he has a spare tumbler that he doesn’t use anymore. Well, shoot. Of course he does. Who doesn’t have a spare tumbler, or anvil, or vise, or wire-twister, or… (a large portion of my tools have come to me courtesy of my father) At some point who knows how many years ago, he needed a bigger one. He tumbles rocks and such all the time. (Eastern Montana is an amazing place to find cool stuff. Moss Agates, petrified wood, etc) So, he said I could have his smaller one.
I had to wait until Thanksgiving to get it, but it was so very worth the wait! I have already tumbled a set of discs, and turned them into pretty things. I was practically giddy the first time I used it. And the creative juices were just flowing. What an amazing gift!
It’s not pretty, but I’m of the opinion that if your tools look pretty, you haven’t used them enough. At least with some tools.
Also, I noticed something when I picked up one of the barrels. There was some stuff rolling around inside. So I open it up and what do I find but a bunch of chips, with a few larger bits of rock, all polished up. I’m thinking some of them are destined for a resin piece. But we’ll see.
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?
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…
…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.
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:
And remember, if you notice me slacking… let me have it! 😉
Now that the Build-A-Line Challenge is over, it’s back to life as usual, right? Yeah… No. I’m not sure I would go back even if I could. I feel so much better about the path I am on now. And it’s a path I had been meaning to take for a while. The challenge was really just that final push to really go for it.
So… what did I learn and take away from the whole thing?
The actual concept of what we were doing with this challenge made sense to me. I wasn’t surprised by the expectations or even what Brenda meant by creating a line. Don’t get me wrong… I still learned a lot about creating a line. I definitely am not saying I knew everything about it. I just understood the concept. This class really got down to the nitty and the gritty with it all. I had already decided before this challenge that I needed to narrow down the scope of what I make, and be more focused and consistent. This just gave me the push to actually DO it. I’ve really had to rein in pretty much everything I do, from buying supplies to how I photograph the final products.
What I DID learn about was the rest of it. The stuff I don’t want to have as part of my reality, but it’s really a bigger part than the actual jewelry making itself. It’s the marketing stuff. And really, I kinda knew about that, too, but I was in denial about how important it was. Right now, that part takes as much time as the making side. It drives me crazy. But it’s necessary. Really necessary. So we talked about SEO, photography, packaging, and about a million other topics.
I asked a LOT of questions in our private forums. I’m nosy. I can’t help it. I consider it one of my special gifts. 😉 I figure other people are probably wondering the same things. And I also figure it makes more sense to learn from other people’s mistakes/successes/experiences. Maybe that’s the lazy way? I don’t know, but it makes sense to me to ask. If no one answers, then you move on. If they do, you apply what they tell you, and determine how to use the info (or not, depending) for your own gig.
Probably the biggest thing I learned in the three months of really trying to focus more was that I need to be more intentional when it comes to jewelry making. I need to schedule times for making, photographing, promoting, listing, etc. It’s not easy to find time consistently as a stay-at-home mom. And I’m still at a stage that my kids, husband, and home are still my main focus. That’s just where I’m at in life. But I’m feeling more like I can make Jewelry Making come up a little higher on the list. Now that I’m more focused on what I make, sticking more to one style, it helps simplify the creative process, which makes me more productive. And a whole lot more confident in what I am making, and how likely it is to sell.
So really… I learned a lot in this challenge, but I still have a LONG way to go. One thing I know for sure is that I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. Brenda, the BALC instructor and owner of B’Sue Boutiques, is so full of knowledge and experience, and it blows me away how generously she shared all of that with us.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
I manipulated some bead caps, too, before hitting them with the torch.
I have a few other elements that might make an appearance, or might not. Once I begin assembling, I’ll have a better idea.
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.