Monthly Archives: August 2016

Summer Jewelry Challenge Week #12…The Magical Word

I shared last week that I would not be entering the “Finish It” contest that Nicole Hanna is hosting due to the lack of supplies and the lack of desire to purchase new supplies just for the contest.  This week I saw an entry pop up in my Facebook news feed and it only had one bead.  I was confused because there were two beads mentioned in the materials list, so I decided to read the rules and instructions again.  I am so glad I did!  I found a magical word that allowed me to create an entry for the contest after all and I didn’t need to purchase any new supplies to do it!  The magical word was OMIT…meaning that since the second bead was not mentioned in the partial instructions given in the tutorial we could omit it.  The only thing I had to use was the supplies mentioned in the partial tutorial directions.

I gathered my supplies so I could see what I had available to work with.  It felt like slim pickens compared to what I normally work with on my pieces, but I knew that would be part of the challenge.

Here is a picture of my supplies that I could use including tools…

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Tools and materials available for use in the challenge

The first thing I did was complete the tutorial portion of the pendant.  Here is a picture to show how far that took me…

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Tutorial part of the pendant

At this point I was able to have free creative reign…but with only the wire I had here.  As a part of the contest I was able to alter one thing in the materials list and I would have liked to have been able to alter the length of the weaving wire, but I had to alter the shape of the bead because I didn’t have an oval bead.  Being able to have more weaving wire would have given me a bit of a comfort zone in this challenge, but it wasn’t meant to be and in the end I think that was a good thing.  Participating in this challenge has shown me how far I have come in my skills and creative abilities.  It has also shown me how much I have grown away from the negative side of perfectionism I used to struggle with.  A year ago I would have looked at this contest, identified the fact that it wasn’t a guaranteed success, and I would not have even attempted it.  Instead I wanted to do it and in the end was able to.

Working on this piece wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but it wasn’t easy either.  I think the biggest challenge was in my mind…overcoming the questions about whether I could actually do this or not.  I have settled into my own “style” as it were and it involves a lot of weaving and copper beads.  I found myself really missing my unlimited weaving wire and copper beads.  I think the copper beads add that little extra texture needed for interest in my pieces and I was wondering how I was going to compensate for not having them and still create a piece that fits my style.  Another challenge was thinking through each step before I did it due to the limited wire because I didn’t want to kink or break anything.  Normally I have several weaves in progress at one time because I may not be sure where I want things to end up, but I had to complete each section as I went because I only had one weaving wire.  The final challenge of this pendant was the limited tools available.  I don’t use a ton of tools in general, but I do use flat nose pliers and a beading awl to help me get all of my pieces neat and tidy.  It was a good test of my skills to see if I could use the needle nose pliers to do it.  I think trying to create a hole in the weave to anchor the weaves was the most challenging aspect of limited tools, but I was able to work it out.

Here are some pictures of my finished piece for the contest…

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Completed Pendant
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Right Angle View
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Left Angle View
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Close Up of Top
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Close Up of Right Side
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Close Up of Left Side
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Close Up of Bottom View

I am so pleased with what I was able to accomplish using the supplies given.  This challenge has definitely made me appreciate the free reign of supplies I normally have, however it was a great learning experience that stretched me even further in my jewelry making journey.  I am so thankful for the growth that the Lord is working in me through jewelry.  As I mentioned earlier, a year ago I wouldn’t have even tried to enter this contest because success wasn’t guaranteed.  I have been tempted to enter a couple of smaller contests, but I haven’t taken the plunge until now.  I don’t expect to win the contest, but I have already won many battles in my own journey of jewelry making and life through this process.

Well, now it is time to actually enter my piece into the contest and put a little piece of me out there in this way for the first time.  I might be a little nervous, but I am not going to let that stop me when I have come this far.  So here is to taking a risk and going on a daring adventure into the unknown.

I hope that you all have a blessed week that is full of daring adventures.  I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes…

“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

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Summer Jewelry Challenge Week #11…Plans Change

Last week I mentioned I thought about entering the “Finish It” contest which is being hosted by Nicole Hanna.  Well, I planned to make that my project for this week and I was ready for the challenge.  I wasn’t sure if I would actually enter the contest or just make the piece.  However, I wanted to create with entering the piece in my mind.  It was Tuesday before I was ready to start on the project and the first thing I did was sit down and look at all of the rules of the contest and the tutorial I would be using.  I didn’t want to be disqualified because I didn’t know the parameters I was to work within.  I ran into a snag because one of the requirements was that I can only use what the tutorial lists as my materials with only one exception.  I needed some clarification on what “one exception” meant, but I realized that if I wanted to complete this project I would need to purchase a couple of new beads to complete it.

It used to be that I would jump at the chance to purchase something new in general, but that isn’t the case anymore.  After I spent the first six months of this year going through everything that I owned and discarding everything that didn’t spark joy (Konmari method), I don’t really like buying things just to buy them anymore.  I also have a boatload of beads that spark joy and I want to try using most of them up before buying more…so I can cut the bead hoarding habit.  I have learned that buying things or holding onto things out of fear that I won’t have them doesn’t spark joy in me.  At one time buying things and having a lot of stuff felt like a safety net, but it became a burden that I felt guilty for.  All of this to say, that buying any extra beads this week didn’t spark joy so I decided to not do the contest and create something that would spark joy and use up stuff I already had.

I decided that I wanted a bit of a challenge so I chose a ring tutorial.  Rings are something I don’t normally make because I can’t get the sizing right and the construction is more complicated in general…at least in my mind.  I followed the Victorian Ring Tutorial by Nicole Hanna to complete my piece.

Honestly I didn’t know what to expect.  It didn’t look like a hard tutorial, but I know how to complicate simple really well. 🙂  I actually had fun in creating this ring and found myself really relaxed while creating it in general.  That may sound like something odd to say, but I am usually pretty intense and sometimes stressed when I am making jewelry.  I think it is just another sign of becoming more comfortable with creating and learning to not be afraid of messing up.  My mind is also really focused on remodeling my craft room, so I didn’t have as much focus to spare for creating jewelry this week…I just needed to make it, not stress over it. 🙂

Here are some pictures of the finished ring…

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Victorian Ring
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Victorian Ring-Right Side View
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Victorian Ring-Left Side View
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Victorian Ring-Close Up View
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Victorian Ring-Next to a quarter for size comparison

This was a fun ring to make and I am pleased with how it turned out.  The main thing I was uncertain of was the use of a 8mm undrilled cabochon (something tiny and without a hole to secure it).  I didn’t have any problems with it at all and that was very encouraging, especially after my first experience with an undrilled cabochon made me unsure I wanted to try to use another one.  I will probably make more of these rings in the future.

Some things I realized in creating this ring…

~Rings aren’t as scary to make as I thought.

~I would like to continue growing in my skills of using undrilled cabochons.

~While thinking about things is good, there is a point of overthinking that creates unnecessary stress.

~I am getting faster in making jewelry.

~Choice is a powerful thing.

~Knowing what sparks joy in myself makes life a lot less complicated.

Well, I will say good bye for now.  I am not sure what my next piece of jewelry will be but I do know it will most likely be challenging and hopefully fun.  I look forward to priming the walls of my craft room this week!  And I hope that whatever you do it goes well for you!

Summer Jewelry Challenge Week #10…Finding the Groove

Last week I tried a few new things in wire wrapping and had fun, but one thing I really missed was the weaving.  My favorite thing about working with wire is the weaving part.  I love to make thick weaves with many base wires and I also love including a variety of different weaves in my pieces.  The only downside to weaving with many base wires is it can take a while, but it is worth it in the end.  Because I really missed weaving last week, I was pretty sure I wanted to make another piece of my own as this week’s project so I could weave like a crazy woman. 🙂

I decided to use a dyed (what I think is agate) bead that I bought a strand of last year at a bead show as my focal bead.  The stones were dyed an aqua blue color and some of them have a crackle look inside that reminds me of the ocean.

When I was gathering my supplies to begin my project I came across a section of weaving that I had created several weeks ago.  I had been seeing a weaving stitch that I found interesting and wanted to give it a try and so I did.  At the time I had planned to use it with a cabochon, but when I came across it this week I thought it would make a great focal weave in my pendant.

Here is a picture of the weave I am talking about…

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The new weave I tried is the outermost weave

When I first started this week’s project I noticed how laid back I felt about it.  There weren’t any doubts in my mind that I could create my own piece and that was a great realization!  I just started making my own pieces without tutorials in January of this year and I can remember how scared I was at the thought of even trying something without a tutorial.  The funny thing is once I started I really enjoyed seeing where the wire went without a plan to follow, and that wasn’t something I was expecting.  Now, creating my own pieces is quickly becoming my favorite way to make jewelry.  I am so thankful for the growth and progress the Lord has brought about in this area of my life.  I am amazed at the way He uses wire working to refine me and help me conquer things that I wouldn’t think possible.  Probably one of the funniest ways He has used wire working is to develop patience in me.  I have always said I am not a patient person and I hate to wait and sit still, then one day I realized that I sit for hours weaving wire…the irony was not lost on me. 😀

I got off to a pretty good start with my pendant, but things got sidetracked and I lost my groove.  There is a place that I reach in creating a project where my speed increases and the ideas are flowing.  It is a happy place and I call it my “groove”.  It is the place where I am not really thinking about what I am doing, but the wire work just flows out of me.  After the first day I realized that I was having trouble finding that sweet spot and when I would work on it the flow wasn’t there.  I found myself procrastinating because I was too tired or some other lame excuse.  I finally realized that I was getting so caught up in another project I am doing that I didn’t have the resources I needed to make the pendant.  As a side note…I recently realized that when I begin a new project I tend to lose myself in it by inadvertently giving up my identity and control to it.  It isn’t something I was aware of, I only knew that projects got really stressful and I couldn’t wait to finish them and get back to my normal routine.  Being aware of this fact, I wanted to make sure I held on to my identity and control as I began a big painting and a small renovation project in my craft room.  This is why I didn’t have my usual amount of mental and emotional resources…that and female hormones which I won’t go into detail about. 🙂  It can be draining trying to make sure your thoughts are going down the right path…especially when the path is a new one.

Anyway, it was Saturday before I finally found my groove.  My husband and I went to a local coffee shop and I was able to focus on and finish up my pendant there.

Here are some pictures of it…

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Complete View

 

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Complete View
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Right Side View
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Bottom View
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Side View

I am pleased with how it turned out overall.  I did notice that after I cleaned and oxidized the pendant two things changed.  The drilled hole in the focal bead cleaned out and my copper wire shows through.  I don’t think it is a huge deal, but I would prefer it to be hidden.  The other thing I noticed is the beads I used in the strand on the right side changed color.  They were originally a pale grayish purple color, but after oxidizing them they were more clear.  The good thing is their sparkly luster is still there.  It would have been very sad to have a strand of clear dull beads there.  I thought they were Swarovski crystal beads, but I was mistaken…oh well, lesson learned.

Here are a couple of picture of the small purple beads before and after oxidizing…

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Small Purple Beads Before Oxidizing
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Small Purple Beads After Oxidizing

I think next week I am going to try my hand at the Finish It tutorial for the contest Nicole Hanna is having on her webpage.  I haven’t entered a contest before with my jewelry and I am not sure I will enter my piece, but we shall see how it turns out. Well, I think that is it for this week, I hope you all have a blessed week!