Monthly Archives: November 2015

Week Twenty-Two…A Remake and Realizing I Don’t Want to Learn Something

The tutorial I chose for this week was a free tutorial that IMNIUM recently released.  It was for a woven band technique that could be used in many different ways, not a completed project.  I had never attempted anything like this, so it was a new experience to be sure.

I cut my wire and took my time in trying to figure out the directions…it is a free tutorial, so there is a little guess work involved.  When I began I left enough extra wire so I could end the woven band without running into problems.  I started this project holding it in my hand, but quickly realized that I needed a clamp because I had to hold it pretty tight and my hand was aching already.  I switched to a spring clamp I had and things seemed to be going along pretty well until I got a little ways above where the clamp was holding it.  I re-positioned the weave and tried to get it  straight, but wasn’t successful.  I was quickly coming to the conclusion that this project wasn’t something I really wanted to learn.  I had the basic technique down, but I found the process a little boring and I knew it was going to take a lot of patience and time for me to figure out how to get a consistent weave.  I found it encouraging to realize that by being able to eliminate this type of weaving I had identified part of my jewelry “style”.   Figuring out my style is really another long term goal for me and one I should have realized this challenge would help me in.  I desire to take wire and beads or cabochons and just create and see what comes of it, but I haven’t had the confidence in my abilities and thought I would end up with a wad of wire and my perfectionist side could not stand that. 🙂  Did I mention I am so thankful for how small that perfectionist side has become thanks to all of the growth through this challenge!

Anyway, since I decided I really didn’t want to put the time in to perfect this new weaving technique and I also didn’t want to continue to waste wire, I stopped the project after a few rows.

Here is a picture of how far I did get…

Weaving Technique from IMNIUM Tutorial
Weaving Technique From IMNIUM Tutorial

It is an interesting project and I may pick it up again some day, but right now I have so many other things I really want to make and I am realizing how valuable my time is and how I need to focus and prioritize things so they get done instead of thinking I can do everything.

So, I found myself midweek with a project I really didn’t want to do and family and Thanksgiving right around the corner, so I momentarily freaked out trying to figure out how I could end up with a completed project in spite of the time crunch.

When I started this challenge I switched to using only raw copper wire on the projects because I grew tired of using plated and coated wires that would end up with scratches and tool marks no matter how careful I was.  I have been so pleased with this choice because I can file and buff out any marks that end up on the wire and I really like the finished look of the oxidized copper.  As a result there are several pieces I have wanted to remake with my new wire, and that is what I ended up doing for my “finished piece” for the week.

The piece that I did a remake of was the Candle Flame Pendant which I made following the tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  (I am sure by now you can tell I prefer Nicole Hanna tutorials to any other. 🙂 )  When I made the first one I didn’t actually like the pendant as I was making it, but after I finished it I really did like it.  This taught me to wait until I complete a piece to decide if I like it or not.

When I start making a piece, there can be some doubt in my mind wondering if I can actually make a piece.  This was one of the reasons I wanted to do this challenge…to battle that and grow past it.  This week I am seeing the fruit of that growth.  When I started making the new Candle Flame Pendant, that question popped into my head…will I be able to make this.  The answer was almost immediate…of course I can…I already have made it!  It was a great thing to just simply make a piece and not waste time on whether I could or not.  I hope that confidence is something that continues to grow in me!  Things went really well and fast on making the new pendant and I did it while enjoying time with family.

Here is a picture of the first Candle Flame Pendant I made using Vintaj Parawire…

Candle Flame Pendant made with Vintaj Parawire


Here are pictures of the one I made this week using raw copper wire…

Candle Flame Pendant made with Raw Copper Wire
Candle Flame Pendant made with Raw Copper Wire

I didn’t have time to oxidize the pendant this week, so I will do that at a later time and post more pictures when it is finished.

One thing I found interesting in remaking this piece is how differently they turned out even though I followed the same tutorial.  I guess that is why each wire wrapped piece really is one of a kind because when you make things by hand there will always be variations of some kind.  There is something really special about handcrafted things and I am thankful that I can create some of those things.

Here is a picture of both pendants so you can see the differences…

Candle Flame Pendants (Vintaj Parawire on left) (Raw Copper Wire on right)

This week December will begin and it will be a very full week for me, and I am sure that your schedules are very full too!  I hope you have a great week and things don’t get too crazy for you…or for me!  May the Lord help us all as we go through life this coming week!



Week Twenty-One…From Plan A to Plan B

When the time came for me to pick the tutorial to try this week, I knew immediately which one I wanted to do.  I was really excited to try the Gnome Cab Wrap Pendant by Nicole Hanna.  I knew it would be a challenge, but I was up for it…until I realized that all of my beads were still buried from my “organizing” project that is dragging out and I didn’t have a clue where the cabochon I wanted to use was.  Well that was my “Plan A” for the week.  I was pretty deflated at this point.  I started to feel like a petulant child who wasn’t getting their way and wanted to sulk, but I quickly realized I had way too much to do, so I moved on to “Plan B”.

The tutorial I tried out this week was the Twined Pendant by Nicole Hanna.  It was a fun piece to work on.  After working on a chainmaille piece last week, I found I really enjoyed weaving the wire as opposed to working with rings.  It was nice to enjoy working on a piece and have fun with it instead of feeling stressed about how it was turning out.  There were a couple of things that I altered after I had made the pendant because I didn’t like the way they looked, but after the adjustments I am very pleased with it.

Here are some pictures of the finished pendant…

Twined Pendant
Twined Pendant
Side View of Twined Pendant

Something else that I worked on this week was the flower chainmaille bracelet that I did last week.  My real project from last week was painting my bookcases for my craft room, but I put together the bracelet to have a jewelry project completed.  Because I was more focused on the bookcases I didn’t want to spend time on a clasp, so I used one I created in Week Nine.

Flower Chainmaille Bracelet with Bell Woven Toggle Clasp

I was hesitant to use the clasp on an item I would sell because this particular clasp should have been made with closed jump rings and I didn’t have any at the time.  I was unsure of how the clasp would hold up under the stress of chainmaille, but since the bracelet was going to be mine, I could easily fix it if it broke, or I could eventually replace it with something more suitable to a chainmaille bracelet.  What I didn’t anticipate was someone seeing the bracelet and wanting to buy it.  I explained things to this person, and they said they wanted the bracelet and I could make a different clasp for it.  I ended up using a different clasp that I had also made in Week Nine.  It was the Hammered S Clasp Hook and then I used a new chain link I found recently to make a closure for it.  I am so pleased with how it turned out and feel confident it will hold up under the stress of chainmaille!

Here are some pictures of the flower chainmaille bracelet with the new clasp and after it has been oxidized…

Oxidized Flower Chainmaille Bracelet
Oxidized Flower Chainmaille Bracelet with New Clasp


Oxidized Flower Chainmaille Bracelet

Week Twenty…A Quick Project and A Long Term Investment

Lately I have been feeling really stressed trying to get in my jewelry project and it has started to feel more like work than the fun it usually is.  My husband reminded me I needed to find fun in it again and not just choose projects because it would teach me something, so this week I did something a little different.

I was originally going to do some soldering, but then I realized that I would really like to have my jewelry making supplies organized so I can find things without having piles of stuff to go through.  I started by removing everything off of my bookcases and then I looked at them and realized that it would be really fun to have pretty shelves that inspired creativity…instead of making me think yuck and I hate having mismatched shelves, but I am thankful for the storage room they provide.  So there I found myself three projects later looking at pinterest trying to find that pin I had saved for the “perfect” moment when I finally found the gumption to paint my laminate book cases.  I though it sounded silly to try, but I got brave and believed pinterest…first mistake, but we will get to that…

I figure out what I would need and then I purchased some supplies.  The first bookcase went fine, but I realized this project was going to take a lot more time than I had anticipated.  It was when I started on the second bookcase that I realized that pinterest lied.  The primer was supposed to stick, but it didn’t…I could see it balling up like water does after applying RainX.  I tried some sanding, but that still didn’t work well.  Then I went to the store and bought the more expensive primer that boasts “sticks to glossy and laminate surfaces without sanding” and hoped for the best.  I applied some of it and it did a little better, but it was still balling up in some places.  I returned the expensive primer because it lied.  I found myself wishing I never started the project, but I had so I could only move forward.  My husband used his belt sander and heavily sanded the bookcase and then I added some of my original primer and praise the Lord it worked!  He spent a lot of time fully sanding that bookcase for me and I felt a little guilty (for taking up so much of his time) and a whole lot loved.  There was one more bookcase that was going to need sanding, but I decided it wasn’t worth saving and donated it instead.  Now I begin this week with one of my bookcases completely painted and the other one sanded and ready to prime and paint.

Here is a picture of the bookcases before I started any of the process…

Before picture of the three bookcases

Here is the one I have finished painted…

After picture of the white bookcase
After picture of the white bookcase

I know I will be very happy with them when they are finished, but I certainly bit off more that I anticipated.  Sometimes I think that is how the Lord gets us to do things that we never would normally…by not showing us the whole picture…but in the end it is always worth it!

Now while I was working on my jewelry supply storage space I did finish a chainmaille bracelet that I started a few weeks ago.  The chainmaille pattern I used is the Japanese 12-2 weave and I made flowers with it.  There isn’t a specific tutorial I used, but there are many online that can be used.

I decided to use the Bell Woven Toggle Clasp that I made in Week Nine from a Nicole Hanna tutorial to finish off the bracelet.  I had already oxidized the clasp, so it is different color from the chainmaille in these pictures, but I plan to oxidize the chainmaille part also.

Here are some pictures of the finished piece…

Completed Japanese 12-2 Chainmaille Bracelet with Bell Woven Toggle Clasp
Complete Japanese 12-2 Chainmaille Bracelet with Bell Woven Toggle Clasp
Completed Japanese 12-2 Chainmaille Bracelet with Bell Woven Toggle Clasp
Completed Japanese 12-2 Chainmaille Bracelet with Bell Woven Toggle Clasp

I am please with how the bracelet turned out and it was fun to change up the pace of things a little bit.  I am excited about the upcoming week’s project and looking forward to finishing my bookcase and organizing project.  I hope you have a great week!

Week Nineteen…Transformation and Perseverance

When I look at a spool of wire I see an endless possibility of things that could be made with a few swirls, loops, coils, and weaves.  What do you see?  Most people would see different things and it would likely depend upon your life experiences.  When I make my jewelry there is a transformation that happens.

It starts out looking like this…

22 gauge and 28 gauge round copper wire

And then with the help of a tutorial or two and a few beads, it looks like this…

Wrapped Up Heart Pendant from Week Six

That is pretty cool.  Before I started making wire jewelry, I would look at copper wire and think it was something to be used for plumbing and electrical things or recycled.  It certainly wasn’t something I ever thought I would be using in my crafts, let alone become my favorite thing to create with.

While that is interesting you may be wondering what it has to do with my jewelry challenge and my project of this week…I should say two weeks.  Well, while creating the Love’s Embrace Ring (tutorial by Perri Jackson, Shaktipaj Designs) which I did start two weeks ago, there has been a transformation going on inside of myself.

In the Bible it talks about sufferings producing perseverance, perseverance producing character, and character producing hope.  I have seen this transformation happening inside myself when I look back at the process of creating this ring.  I started out with excitement, but it quickly became suffering because it was a completely new technique and a new way of putting a ring together.  I don’t know about you, but I like things to be comfortable and predictable…this tutorial was outside of that comfort zone and it made me really not want to do it.  (Now I don’t think this suffering was hard in the big scope of life, as my mother in law says “Some people have real problems”, but at the time this felt like suffering.)

Now I would love to say that I just pulled it all together, put on my big girl panties and whipped out the ring in a hurry, but we all know that two weeks isn’t whipping something out in a hurry. 🙂  I saw some definite character flaws revealed as I tried to work on this ring.  I was amazed that even thought I am thirty-four my behavior resembled that of a seven year old that has to clean her room or a three year old who has to eat two more bites of her dinner…the fit throwing and the putting off of the inevitable.  Now I should clarify that I didn’t throw any fits on the outside…that might make my husband feel the need to take me to a doctor for help.  It was more of a bad attitude on the inside all the while procrastinating and not working on the project until the last minute.  Sigh, I guess we all have days like that…I would just like to be the grown-up I imagine myself to be.

Well onto the transformation part… 🙂

Here is the part of the ring that I accomplished the first week…

Beginnings of the Love’s Embrace Ring

Not a bad beginning, but it took me a week to work through the tutorial and finish this much. (Yes, there is a lot more to it than I mentioned, but that is the short version.)  Now, how do I know I could do it faster?  Well, this week when I went to do the second part which looks just like the picture above it took me about 30 minutes.  Boy did I feel silly…like a three year old who has been sitting there for three hours miserable because she had to eat two more bits of her dinner before she could get down and she is stubborn enough not to take them…I could have saved myself a lot of emotional drama, but sometimes I need to learn the hard way.

The lesson I learned is that sometimes it is better to just do something than worry about whether you can do it because it will save a lot of time and emotional drama.  And even if I mess up, I can usually recover pretty well or I can start over using the new lesson I learned by messing up.

In my post last week I mentioned that I ordered half round copper wire to finish out the band of my ring. The tutorial called for half round copper wire, but I didn’t have any and thought I could just weave the band and it would be stable enough.  I had never worked with half round copper wire and found it to be a funny wire at first.  For those of you who don’t know, half round wire is round on one side and flat on the other.  It definitely turned out to be the right choice to add stability to my ring band and I can see a lot of potential uses for it in future projects.

Here is a picture of the two 24 gauge wires and one 26 gauge wire that made up the band before I added the half round wire…

Ring band before the half round wire was added

Here are some pictures of the finished ring…

Completed Love’s Embrace Ring
Completed Love’s Embrace Ring
Completed Love’s Embrace Ring

I am so glad that I persevered through this project and am thankful that I have completed nineteen weeks in this challenge.  One of the reasons I wanted to do this challenge is to work on my ability to persevere on hard tasks and it is happening with the Lord’s help.

How do you respond to the hard things (whether big or small) that you have to deal with or do?  I have found the way I respond to the little “hard” things is often how I will respond to the big things that are actually really hard.  Here’s hoping for another week of strengthening those perseverance muscles and building character and hope so we can respond well!

Week Eighteen…Unfinished Steps, a Store, and Grace

What a week this has been!  I have been working on opening up an Etsy store to sell my jewelry.  It has turned out to need quite a bit of thought and quite a large amount of work even though I have been working on it for several weeks in different stages.  The last couple of days my mind has felt like jelly…you know when you crammed for a test in college and high school, but now I am rested and can hopefully complete a coherent blog entry.

The tutorial I chose to do for this week is the Love’s Embrace Ring by Perri Jackson (Shaktipaj Designs).  I have her Mother’s Ring tutorial which is a more simple version of the Love’s Embrace Ring and would have been something I could have finished this week most likely, but I went for the harder version…after all this is a challenge. 🙂

Well, the truth is I bit off more than I could chew and when I got into making the ring I realized that I didn’t have most of the supplies I needed to make it.  The reason this is odd is because before I started this challenge I went through and picked out the tutorials I wanted to focus on and made sure I had all the materials I needed and purchased most of what I didn’t have.  The exception to this was 20 gauge half round wire, which is required for this tutorial.  I figured at the time (back in June) I would be able to weave a band or something to make it okay…note to self don’t assume anything without reading the directions in detail.

The bottom line of all of this is early in the week I figured out how to make the beads I have work, but it was quite a challenge.  There was math involved…which usually isn’t fun, but is often necessary in wire work.  The great news is I figured out the bead issue part and was able to work my way through the first part of the ring.  The bad part is the more I read ahead, I realized I really did need the 20 gauge half-round wire.  There is no way I was going to trust a ring band to hold up with 2 little pieces of 24 gauge wire with one piece of 26 gauge wire thrown in, so I ordered the wire and it should be here this week.  So as a result of this, my ring isn’t finished, but should be by next week.  I know I made the right choice by waiting and doing it right.  Part of my pride is stung by not having a “finished” piece this week, but I will get over it.

I did learn a new technique this week and it was great once I got it down.  I found the beginning to be a little bumpy because I am used to Nicole Hanna’s tutorial lingo and progressions, so there will obviously be differences as I do tutorials from different people.  I am thankful that I stuck it out this week through all of the changes I had to do in order to work with what I had.  I will definitely order the proper type of beads if I make this ring again, but this has been an excellent way to make me think outside of the box and work outside of my comfort zone and make me think.

Here is a picture of the first part of the ring I have completed…



Isn’t it a neat beginning of a ring!  I look forward to sharing the final piece with you next week.

Some things I learned this week…

~Thinking outside the box is hard, but it is possible and can make me stronger and more versatile.

~Trying and failing isn’t failure…trying and giving up is.

~I need to give myself grace, especially when I don’t accomplish what I thought I should have.

~Grace is a wonderful thing…it lets us get up and continue on when we have fallen.

~Things don’t have to be perfect for the job to be completed.

~I would rather take the time to do a good job rather than just finish the job.

By the way, here is link to my new Etsy store…

I will be adding more as I can get them listed.  It is so exciting that it is actually open…I tried a few years ago to sell some things and it didn’t work out.  I am a crafter and creator, not a sales person and it can be quite scary to put your stuff out there for sale…rejection comes hard to anyone and it can be my Achilles heal at times.  I think this time will be better because my skills have improved so much in that time and I am more confident in the pieces that I am offering.