Monthly Archives: June 2016

Summer Challenge Week #4…My Own Creation

A month has passed and with it one third of the Summer Jewelry Challenge.  Time certainly does go by quickly theses days and it is only getting faster.  That realization is part of what makes me determined to live each moment to the full and be present in the moment…even the hard ones I would normally rather escape from.  Time is a precious thing and so often in the past I would have a bad day and just think to myself that tomorrow will be better so it was okay to write the day off as a bad one.  Well, there are some genuinely bad days, but I want to learn from them and see if shifting my perspective might redeem the day or some part of it.  I read an article by Rachel Stafford not too long ago that had the idea of “looking for the flowers among the weeds”.  The “flowers” represent the good things or moments in each day.  So when I have a bad day full of “weeds” I try my best to look closer and gather a bouquet of “flowers” out of them.  It isn’t something that comes naturally to me, but I am retraining my mind and with the Lord’s help I am seeing improvement in my ability to find the good things (flowers).

Well onto what I created this week!  I have been talking about wanting to make another piece of my own without following a tutorial.  Confession time…I can talk about something that I want to do for a while sometimes and if I feel like I won’t succeed then I will continue to talk about it and never do anything about it.  Ideas are a safe thing in general…it is the action that is scary. 🙂

I am pleased to share that I did actually follow through on making my own piece without a tutorial.  It was a good experience for me.  I never know how things will turn out, but I picked a bead, cut the wire, and started weaving.  The bead I chose is a lampwork ocean bead made by Molly Cooley.  She makes the most beautiful beads and her night time ocean beads are my favorite.  I picked up several of them shortly after Christmas, but I have been afraid to wrap them because they are so lovely and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do them justice.  I have gained a lot of confidence in my wire wrapping so I took a chance and tried it.  I was not disappointed in the results either.

Here are pictures of the completed pendant…

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Ocean Heart Bead Pendant
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Ocean Heart Bead Pendant-Framed “Window” View
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Ocean Heart Bead Pendant-Side View
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Ocean Heart Bead Pendant-Bottom View
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Ocean Heart Bead Pendant-Top View

Didn’t it turn out lovely!  I am so surprised at how well it turned out without following a plan.  I was wondering if I ended up adding too much wire work and overshadowed the bead, but my husband said the effect of my wire weaving is like you are looking through a window and I liked that idea. 🙂

Some of the differences that I noticed in the process of making my own creations versus following a tutorial were interesting.

Following a tutorial…

~things stay neat and orderly

~materials and amounts of them are already figured out

~there is a clear plan and steps to follow

~not much thinking is require

~time it takes to finish a piece is considerably less

Creating my own…

~things are a mess and wire is everywhere, sometimes with several kumihimo bobbins with weaving wire sticking off multiple half finished wraps

~not sure of materials so I cut my base wires extra long and usually put about 30+feet of weaving wire on my kumihimo bobbin

~no plan and usually no idea where a project is heading

~lots of thinking is required and sometimes trial and error also

~lots of time involved because I like making pieces with lots of wire weaving

I am enjoying learning how to take all the things I have learned to create my own designs.  I have a long way to go and one day I might come up with something that is really unique, but for now I will just enjoy the journey I am on without feeling like I should be somewhere else.

Last week I didn’t have time to oxidize my necklace, but I did this week.  Here are some pictures of it oxidized…

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Oxidized Crawling Vine Pendant
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Oxidized Crawling Vine Pendant-Top View
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Oxidized Crawling Vine Pendant-Bottom View

That is all for this week.  I hope that you have a blessed week, but if it turns out to be a hard week I hope you can locate the flowers among the weeds!

 

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Summer Challenge Week #3…Learning to Fly

This has been a bit of a hectic week for me and I have been scrambling to get my piece finished so I could post today instead of on Sunday like usual since tomorrow is Father’s Day and I have a packed day of visiting with loved ones.  I did get it made, but didn’t have time to oxidize it.  So you will see the raw copper piece this week, but I will post the oxidized piece next week. 🙂

The piece I made this week was the Crawling Vine Pendant using the tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  It was an interesting piece to construct because of it being an elongated pendant.  It was my first time in making something like this.  I am glad for the new experience it provided, but it was a little out of my comfort zone.

I tried to follow the tutorial, but the more I got into it I found I needed to make some changes so I would like the piece I was creating.  The piece I ended up with looked incomplete so I added a little bit more wire to it.  This isn’t a problem and I am so thankful that my basic wire weaving skills have developed to to the place that I don’t have to be told how to fix a problem or make something look nice, but I was a little frustrated that I didn’t match the tutorial piece because that is what I had planned to do.   In my first challenge I became quite adept at matching what the creator of the tutorial did.  In this challenge, I have found myself struggling to match the original work and wondering if I would be able to make a piece look just like the creator of the tutorial had made like I used to.  The funny thing is this was registering as a problem, but then I realized it isn’t…I am branching out on my own and like a baby bird learning to fly I am spreading my wings.  It is a bit scary, but it is a great thing!  I just have to make sure my perspective is correct and I am seeing what I make from that side and not from the negative side of “mine doesn’t look like theirs and since that was my goal I failed”.  I have been feeling that desire to spread my wings even more; to cut some wire, pick a bead and see where it leads without any tutorials.   It is something that I plan to do in the coming weeks, but we shall see when it comes to fruition.

Here are some pictures of my completed pendant…

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Crawling Vine Pendant
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Crawling Vine Pendant-Top View
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Crawling Vine Pendant-Bottom View

I think it turned out nice, but it isn’t one of my favorite pieces.  I am interested to see how oxidizing will change that.  I am always amazed at how much more detail stands out in a piece once it has been oxidized and I usually like it more.

Well, that is it for this week!  I hope that you have a great week and a blessed Father’s Day.  If it is a hard time for you then I pray that God will comfort you and heal your hurts.  If it is a good time for you then I pray you will have great joy in celebrating.

 

Sumer Challenge Week #2…Gaining a New Perspective

I decided to make a bracelet this week and I used the Little Bit Wicked Bangle Bracelet tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  I have made several bracelets so far, but this is my first bangle and I was excited.  I worked through picking out the bead I wanted to use, figuring out how much wire I would need, cutting the wire, and then I began.  I was feeling a little unsure of working with half round, which I had only used once before, but I watched a quick tip video by Nicole Hanna to help me and I felt a little more prepared.

Shortly after I started I ran into a problem.  I was making the band with the half round wire, applying the techniques I learned from the video, but there were a lot of tool marks that were showing up on the wire and I noticed spaces showing up at different points.  I tried to be more gentle with my pliers and continued on.  However the longer I went the more frustrated I got.  In a couple of places I tried using my beading awl to straighten up the wires that I couldn’t seem to get straight with my pliers and that ended up being a mistake because the awl ended up jumping out of the part I was straightening and scratching several wires in the process.  I had to walk away from it for the night.  I was upset and fully convinced that this project was going to turn out horrible.  It also felt like half round wire was the bane of my existence…no wonder I had only worked with it once before.

I tried working on it the next day, but after a few rounds it was clear I didn’t want to do it.  I was confused at how something that started out so fun quickly became frustrating.  At this point I did what any good perfectionist that feels like they can’t succeed does…procrastinate and stress about it. 🙂  I am sad to say that I did this for a couple of days and found myself wondering if I was really going to wait until the last minute to finish.  I knew I would finish it because I have a group of people that are joining me in this summer challenge and it would have been really lame for me (the one who created the challenge) to not have a finished piece because I didn’t “feel” like completing it.  (I feel the need to clarify that hormones were a factor in this weeks craziness…I am not completely crazy after all. 🙂 )

Thursday rolled around and I knew it was time to get serious and stop procrastinating.  I worked on it for a good while and got through most of the half round wire part.  I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t totally finished, but hey I had made great progress.  I had also accepted that this project wasn’t going to be perfect or even that neat.  I would file away what tool marks I could and just accept the rest.  This was major progress in my thinking because in the past if I wasn’t sure something would turn out I would not complete the project.  I knew that wasn’t an option for this bangle.  I needed a finished project and I wanted it to be this bracelet.

Friday morning I woke up ready to complete it.  The bangle was my priority for that day.  It didn’t take me long to finish the half round part and move on to my favorite part of any wire project…weaving.  There was great fun in finishing this bracelet.  After I finished it I decided to oxidize it because I needed to see the finished product to make a final judgement call on how the half round wire part turned out.

Here are some pictures of the finished bangle…

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Completed Little Bit Wicked Bangle

 

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Little Bit Wicked Bangle-Focal View
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Little Bit Wicked Bangle-Focal View
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Half Round Wire Band
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Half Round Wire Band

I was shocked and pleased at how nice it actually turned out.  I don’t really notice the little imperfections of it and that is so surprising to me because when I was making it I was certain it would be awful.

This bangle has taught me several things about perspective and finishing hard things.  Here are a few…

~Just because something is hard, scary, or stressful doesn’t mean it should be avoided.

~Feelings of fear and insecurity are normal when you are trying something new or something you are not experienced at.

~Pressing through feelings of stress and anxiety will make you stronger on the other side and amazed that you were able to complete something that seemed impossible in the moment.

~Sometimes you just need a little time and space to reframe your perspective and move forward.

~Even thought something may seem like it won’t turn out, it may in the end and if it doesn’t seem worth it at the time it usually is in the long run.

~Half round wire isn’t the bane of my existence.  I just need to be patient with myself and practice with it to become more comfortable with it and proficient in using it.

I am thankful for these lessons.  I came across a couple of things in a book I am reading and it really helped put my experience with this project in perspective.  Here are a couple of quotes from it…

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” —Helen Keller

“If we choose to make our lives a daring adventure—to step out of our comfort zone; to grow, explore, and face our challenges—then we will feel what people feel on daring adventures. Our hearts will race; our bodies will sweat; our stomachs will churn. Fear will show up in all its different varieties: from anxiety to insecurity, from stress to self-doubt, from “pumped” to panic. And at times our minds will yell at us: “Heeeeeellllp. Let me off. I wanna go back. It’s all too hard. I can’t handle it. I’m not good enough.”” (Harris, Russ. The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt (pp. 247-248). Trumpeter. Kindle Edition.)

As I start this next week, I want to know that fear is normal and live my life as a daring adventure anyway.  The thing about daring adventures is they don’t have to be great or large, sometimes they are as simple as living your life to the full while you go about the normal and sometimes mundane things of life.   I am ready to go live one!  How about you?  What daring adventures will you go on this week?  I hope you have many blessed ones and a great week!

Summer Challenge Week #1…When a Tutorial Goes Awry

The first week of my summer challenge has gone well.  I chose to do the Twisted Pendant or Earrings Tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  I opted to make a pendant instead of earrings.  I am finding that I don’t enjoy making earrings very much.  The mirroring aspect drives me crazy because of trying to get them to match perfectly, so I avoid that stress unless I absolutely cannot avoid it.  I hope one day I will grow out of it, but until I do I will manage it by avoidance. 🙂  Onto my piece for this week…the Twisted Pendant.

This tutorial turned out to be a pretty fun one to do.  I was surprised that I was able to sit and make it without a lot of drama and stress.  This is especially surprising because there were two places the I had to alter the tutorial to make it work with what I had made.  I will point out these areas in the pictures to come.

Here are some pictures of the completed piece…

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Completed Twisted Pendant
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Completed Twisted Pendant
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Twisted Pendant-Bottom View

 

In the picture above on the right side below the bead is the first place where I needed to alter the tutorial.  In my shaping of the piece I ended up with a lot of extra space that shouldn’t have been there, so I needed to cover it up somehow.  I ended up saving the base wires instead of trimming them because I was already aware of this problem and that would give me some extra wire when I needed it.  I am also thankful that I always add 10cm of extra length to each of my base wires in case I need extra and this time I did!  I think it turned out well and I am encouraged that I didn’t stress out at all, I actually was confident I would figure it out and could make it look nice. Now that may not seem like a big deal to some, but if you have read any of my entries from the early part of my Jewelry Making Challenge from last year you will know that it is a huge measure of growth because something like this would shut me down before and in my mind I couldn’t finish the piece because I wasn’t making the tutorial…yes I know I have issues…but I am conquering them with the Lords help and facing the hard things instead of running away. 🙂

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Twisted Pendant-Top View

The second issue I ran into was in the area pictured above.  If you look up the tutorial picture on Nicole Hanna’s page you will see that the tutorial actually has the swirl with the coiled wire and bare wire (top right side above bead) a lot larger, more in the center, and the jump ring going through it.  That was actually what I did and thought I had finished the piece but I noticed where I had anchored those final base wires wasn’t holding very well so I tried to make it more secure and I realized I hadn’t secured it around other base wires like I thought.  Another weave had gotten close enough to the bead that I had mistaken it as the place where the wire went through the bead, but it wasn’t.  I was disappointed at this and wondered what I could do.  I considered just keeping the piece as is, anchoring it as well as I could, and keeping the piece for myself since I would know I needed to be careful with it.  The more I thought about it the more it bothered me, so I ended up pulling the swirl tighter so I could reach the nearest base wires to secure it on and anchored them properly.  I am glad I fixed it and overall I am pleased with the pendant.  I do think I might try it again in the future and pay more attention to where I am doing my anchoring.  That is the first time I have done that but it may not be the last, however at least I know how to fix it.  I think that is one of the most fascinating things about wire is its versatility.  You can do most anything with it and in the end it will come out looking pretty good…if you keep going.

I do have another piece that I made several weeks ago to share, but it isn’t technically part of the challenge. 🙂

I made  the Sunset Clouds Pendant using the tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  It was a really fun piece to make.  The construction of this piece was really different from the normal methods used in Nicole Hanna tutorials, but it was a great learning experience.  There were a couple of places I did some things a little different.  It is exciting to see myself being okay with the piece not matching the tutorial perfectly.  I am having a lot more fun in creating and that is the way I want it.

Here are some pictures of the completed piece…

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Completed Sunset Clouds Pendant
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Completed Sunset Clouds Pendant
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Sunset Clouds Pendant-Close Up

Well, I guess that is all for now.  I will pick out a new tutorial to start on Monday.  I am thinking a bracelet, but we shall see.  I hope you all have a blessed week!