Monthly Archives: April 2016

Tidying Update, Experimenting, and Some Redos

Today marks the three month point since I began my Tidying Up (Decluttering) Event.  I have been diligent in working on this process and with the exception of a two week period where I split my focus with another goal this event has been my main focus.  In Marie Kondo’s book The Magic Art of Tidying Up, she shares that this process usually takes 6 months to complete from start to finish which includes the discarding phase (figuring out what sparks joy) and the organizing phase (finding a home for what sparks joy).  Well in my mind if there are two processes and six months that means three months per process…well it wasn’t really a goal but that is how my mind broke it down, and then it became a goal…because my mind loves to set impossible limits so I cannot succeed and then compare myself to others who do seem to meet the goal and then I wonder what is wrong with me.  Sigh, yes therapy may be needed, but so far I have been able to work through those kinks with the help of my wonderfully logical husband!

Earlier this week I found myself struggling with the mental dilemma mentioned above (impossibly high standards, comparison to others, and condemning myself if I don’t meet those ridiculous standards) and it was really slowing down my productivity rate.  I have learned that I cannot identify what sparks joy if I am upset or overly emotional and when I feel like a failure I can get overly emotional.  The good thing is that I quickly identified what was happening and I realized I needed to sort out some things in my mind and my logical husband makes a great sounding board!  He was sweet and took some time to listen before he had to leave and it was exactly what I needed.  His logic reminded me of the truth that the book was written by someone from a different culture and that Japanese people aren’t usually the hoarders that American’s tend to be…so I probably have a whole lot more stuff in general than the people in the book that finished up in six months.  He also pointed out that it really didn’t matter how long it took other people…this is my tidying event and I will finish when I finish…I am not just going to stop in the middle because I didn’t meet some time limit.  It was so nice to be reminded of these points and it helped me focus on what really matters.  It can be so easy as I go along living my life to look beside me and see how others are doing around me and then compare my own progress to theirs.  However, that is a really bad thing to do.  God didn’t give me anyone else’s life to live but my own and we all have circumstances and events that cause us to slow down, speed up, and stumble at different points in our journey that others don’t always see so it is never fair to ourselves or others to compare, but amazingly enough it is the most natural thing to do.

Once I reframed my perspective and focused on my own journey I found this week to be one of my most productive so far.  I am working on 15 out of 22 subcategories in my main category of ” Komono or Miscellaneous”.  After I finish this category there is only one more…Mementos or Sentimental Items…which I think will be the most difficult one but I know when the time comes I will have what I need to complete it, until then I will focus on the category where I am instead of worrying about what is to come.

I think that is enough of an update on my Tidying Event, now for the really fun stuff…jewelry!

One thing I have been up to is doing some minor readjustments to a piece I shared in my last blog post.  When I looked at the piece I realized there were a couple of things that I wasn’t happy with as far as the quality in my wire work and that the bead I used was flaking after oxidizing the piece.  I was uncertain what to do at first and wasn’t comfortable with selling the piece as it was.  After a few days away from it and someone expressing interest in purchasing the piece I decided I needed to fix it.  This was the first time I had done anything to a piece after it was finished.  I found I was able to change the bead out without too many issues and I was also able to fix the wire work issues.

Here are some pictures to show the change…

Original Hearts in Asymmetry Necklace
New Hearts in Asymmetry Necklace

This experience has made me seriously look at the jewelry supplies I have and use.  I have only recently started to purchase and use higher end supplies so most of what I have is okay for stringing beads, but doesn’t work well when I oxidize it.  Last week my jewelry making stuff came up in my decluttering process and it was nice to keep only those things that spark joy…needless to say beads that are going to peel didn’t make the cut. 🙂

One day a couple of weeks ago I took some time to play around with some chain links that I had been wanting to try.  It was fun to take my wire to my favorite coffee shop and figure out some new chain links using a book I had picked up a while ago.  The book is called Handcraft Wire Jewelry: Chains, Clasps, Pendants by Kimberly Sciaraffa Berlin.

Here are some of the links that I created…

Elegant Cotter Pin Chain Link

The Elegant Cotter Pin Chain Link was pretty straight forward.  I didn’t really care for it as a chain in general, but I think that it would work for a special kind of necklace, especially if the pendant is plain.

Coiled Half Round Wire Chain Link

The Coiled Half Round Wire Chain Link was the one I was most excited to try.  I ordered a spool of 12 gauge half round wire especially for this tutorial.  I like the playful look of the links.  I hadn’t worked with 12 gauge wire before, but I knew it would be stiff.  I expected the half round to be a little more forgiving, but it really wasn’t.  I was able to make the links eventually, but it took a lot of muscle and tool leverage to get what is pictured above…they have the tool marks to prove it too!  I don’t know if I will make these again because I hate tool marks on my finished pieces and there are too many to file them.  I need to figure out something else for this project to work, but I am glad I tried something new.

Double Loop Crossover Chain Link in varying sizes

I found the Double Loop Crossover Chain Link to be very nice and would work well for most pendants.  I played around with the mandrel size I used and created a variety of different size links.  The smallest one is my favorite.

The other things I have been working on is some remakes of projects that I made a couple of years ago.  When I first started making wire woven jewelry I used silver plated wire and color coated copper wire.  The wire was fine when I first started out, but as my skills improved I found the wire wasn’t giving me the results I wanted.  The silver plated wire I was using began changing from bright silver to a tarnished yellowish color and the color coated copper wire was so easily marked up that it didn’t matter how careful I was it got scratched up.  For about a year and a half I didn’t really know what to do about it and the amount of jewelry I made decreased drastically.  The poor quality of wire was only one of the reasons this happened, but it needed fixed.  Last year when I did my jewelry making challenge I decided that I wanted to upgrade my wire.  I started using bare copper wire and it has been a wonderful improvement over the other wires I was using.  There were a couple of pieces that I wanted to remake with the bare copper wire.

Once of the pendants I wanted to remake was the Charming Hearts Pendant, which I made using a tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  It was fun to make the first time and I found that to be true this time around as well.  I had some extra wire that I used to embellish my new one a little more.

Here is a picture of the new one…

Charming Hearts Pendant (made in bare copper and oxidized)

Isn’t it cute! 🙂  I am happy with the results of the wire wrapping, but I did learn a lesson about the bead I used.  I had hoped the bead would “pop” more color wise, but instead it does a nice job of blending in.  This will be something I will need to pay more attention to in the future.

Now for the comparison picture…

Comparison of Charming Hearts Pendants

The one on the left is one I made couple of years ago using Vintaj Parawire and the one on the right is the new one using bare copper that was oxidized.  I find I have a personal preference for the warm oxidized copper look.  I am also happy to see a little improvement in my wire wrapping skills and a whole lot of improvement in my improvisation with wire.

The other piece that I remade was the Dew Drop Pendant which I also made using a tutorial by Nicole Hanna.

Here are the pictures of the new one and the comparison picture…

Dew Drop Pendant (made with bare copper and oxidized)
Comparison of Dew Drop Pendants

It was a great experience for me to redo this pendant.  When I made the one on the left a couple of years ago it was a very big deal.  It was the most complex thing I had done to that point and it took me a while to work up enough nerve to try it and then it took me a while to make it.  I was so proud of it when I finished it.  When I look at it now I can see several things I don’t really like about how I made it, but I my skills have improved a lot since then.  I am excited to see the new one I made a few weeks ago (on the right).  There is a marked improvement between the two and I also added a wire to help it look a little better.  Quite rewarding to say the least.  I am thankful to see how my skills have grown through this remake, but also in the fact that while this was my most complex piece a couple of years ago (following a tutorial) now my most complex piece is my own creation (without a tutorial) that I shared in my last blog post.

Here are a couple of pictures for those that may not remember…





Progress is so exciting!  Again, I am so thankful for improvement and knowledge I have gained over the last couple of years.  We all grow in different ways and it is so rewarding to see it.  I guess the trick is to keep going and keep learning.

Before I wrap things up (lol, pun intended) a new technique I tried is the coiled coil technique.  There are many tutorials out there that will help you learn this technique, but the one I found the most helpful was made by Oxana Howes from OxanaCrafts.  The technique looks a lot harder than it actually is.

Here are a couple of pictures of a piece in progress using this technique…

Front view of coiled coil technique
Back view of coiled coil technique

Well that is all I have for this time around!  I hope you have a blessed week and are able to live your journey out well!