Monthly Archives: January 2017

Winter 2017 Jewelry Making Challenge Week #4…Swirls, Flying and Fun

This week I have absolutely loved making jewelry.  Last Sunday I decided to work on swirls for this week’s challenge and the pendants from Nicole Hanna’s Curious and Curled Pendant Tutorial Pack were great for this.  The tutorial has three pendants in it and I thought I knew which one I wanted to make but the more I looked at them the more I wanted to try to make them all.  My challenge is to make one piece and honestly there are some weeks that I cannot even get one piece finished, but I decided to aim pretty high this week.  I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get started on these pendants so last Sunday night I cut wire and gathered the needed supplies for all three pendants.  I also got started on the pendant I wanted to make sure I finished.  In the past I have struggled with how long it takes me to make things, but with this pendant I was flying and not compromising the quality I strive for in the process.  It was an amazing thing to experience and it lasted most of the week.  As a result I was able to actually finish all THREE pendants!  Truly an amazing and exciting thing for me.

Here is a picture of all three pendants…

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Curious and Curled Trio of Pendants

Didn’t they turn out lovely!  I am also excited about how unique yet cohesive they look as a group.

Here are some more detailed pictures of the one I wanted to make sure I got finished…

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Swirl Pendant with Cat’s Eye Bead
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Swirl Pendant with Cat’s Eye Bead (Top View)
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Swirl Pendant with Cat’s Eye Bead (Bottom View)

I was uncertain how I would do with all of the tight swirls, since that technique has been a struggle in the past.  Once I got into it thought, I really had a lot of fun.  They were not as hard as I thought and I found myself a lot more relaxed in making them.  I think being relaxed and having fun making them really helped me make more consistent swirls.  In the pendant above I had to add a few swirls and coils to make it work because my spacing worked out a little different than the tutorial.  I noticed the swirl that I added looks a little less round than the others and I found that to be interesting because it was the only thing that “wasn’t” supposed to be there per the tutorial.  Now I have long since graduated from needing to follow a tutorial perfectly, but the perfectionist in me still rebels at the idea sometimes.  I see this slight variation of shape as evidence of that, but I also see it as great growth.  In the past I would have felt like such a failure when the piece didn’t turn out just as the tutorial said…now I am excited over my ability to adapt when the tutorial goes awry and add elements from the tutorial to finish the piece to make it look natural.

Here are some pictures of the second pendant I made this week…

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Swirled Pendant with Swarovski Crystal Bead
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Swirled Pendant with Swarovski Crystal Bead (Top View)
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Swirled Pendant with Swarovski Crystal Bead (Bottom View)

I found this pendant to be a lot of fun to work on as well.  I also added some extra elements that were present in the tutorial as I went along for a couple of reasons.  One reason is to make this piece pleasing to my eye and the other is to satisfy my need for balance.

Here are pictures of my third and final pendant for this week…

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Swirled Pendant with Ceramic Bead
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Swirled Pendant with Ceramic Bead (Top View)
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Swirled Pendant with Ceramic Bead (Bottom View)

This was my least favorite pendant to work on and it took most of my time.  I found myself getting bogged down in it on Friday, but I was determined to finish it.  I think what made this one not as fun was all of the little fiddly points where you had to anchor the wire and weave in tight spots.  It is challenging and I tend to injure myself with my tools while doing it.  There was also a point with this pendant where I had finally got my weave anchored and then my weaving wire snapped.  Sigh, so I had to undo it and then add in the weaving wire once again.  Oh well, it had to be done and I wasn’t going to leave it undone.  Things in my life are like that at times.  I may not want to do something, but I know it has to be done.  I find it is tempting to procrastinate, but it is always better when I just push through and get it done.  This pendant was no different.  I pushed through it and I was so glad I did.  It helped me reach my goal of getting three pendants done this week.

Some things I learned/remembered this week are…

~Jewelry making is so fun!

~When I am having fun and enjoying myself in the process I can go a lot faster.

~When things aren’t fun it is okay to press through just to get to the other side…that may be where the fun is.

~A broken wire doesn’t mean the piece will never be done and the same is true of me…I may be broken, but God isn’t done with me.

~Things that may seem hard or unreachable are still worth aiming for because there are times when you achieve that which seems impossible.

~Things that don’t go according to the plan can still be beautiful.

I am not sure what I will be working on this week, but I will be oxidizing a lot of pieces from the past couple of weeks.  I will try to have those pictures in my post next week.

As a little side note, my husband is teaching me his process of taking pictures and this is the first week I set up the shots.  He is such a good teacher…so patient with me. 🙂  It has been interesting learning the basics of all that goes into what he does.  I look forward to learning more and putting it into practice here.

I hope you have a blessed week that is full of fun and life!

 

 

 

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Winter 2017 Jewelry Making Challenge Week #3…When There Is No Story

Most of the time when I make something there is an experience or story to share with it.  That hasn’t been my experience this week.  I have tried to think of something and I realized that I don’t need to come up with something just to write about it, so this entry will be pretty straight forward as was the piece I made.

I chose to create a pendant using the Fern Weave Tutorial by Julie Hulick.  It was another opportunity to work with a cabochon and expand my skills in that area.  It was a pretty quick piece to make overall.  I did find the back of it took the most time, but I am learning that capturing a cabochon can be tricky especially if you are not used to it.  They don’t like to stay put.

Here are some pictures of my finished piece…

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Fern Weave Pendant (Front View)

 

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Fern Weave Pendant (Back View)

 

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Fern Weave Pendant (Top View)
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Fern Weave Pendant (Side View)

 

Some things learned or remembered…

~Cabochons are slippery and like to pop out of their frames so keep a proper grasp on them or else they might go flying.

~People have different ways of creating wire jewelry and it won’t be comfortable for me to use new methods at first but I will adapt.

~Labradorite is my favorite gemstone.

~Just because a project looks simple doesn’t mean it is okay to assume it won’t take time to make.

~It is good to try new things to learn and grow, but it is also good to be content and confident in my current skills.

~I really like the bail in this pendant and look forward to incorporating it into future pieces.

~Good enough is good enough.

That is all for this week.  I am excited about what I have chosen to make next week.  I also have some other things I am wanting to make for my personal jewelry, but we will see how much I get to make.  I hope that you have a great week!

Winter 2017 Jewelry Challenge Week #2…The Art of Finishing

Last week I didn’t finish my piece.  It wasn’t a great way to start the challenge for me, but I decided to accept where I was and move forward with grace instead of getting caught up in the disappointment.  This week I wanted to finish the piece from last week and then finish another pendant that I had started last month instead of beginning something new.

In general, I try not to start too many projects without finishing them because it is so easy to end up with a pile of things half done. I notice this to be the case in all aspects of my life not just in jewelry making.  This is especially a problem in organizing and cleaning because when looking around there are just piles of stuff and it is hard to see the progress.  There is something about being able to see progress that energizes me to keep going and ultimately finish.

I have noticed in the past several months I have had a harder time finishing things due to the grief of losing my sister.  Grief is a funny thing that affects us all in so many different ways, most of which we don’t realize.  I tend to analyze things that go on and how they affect me because I like to understand what is going on in and around me.  I noticed that one of the reasons I was having such a hard time finishing things was due to my decision making ability being hindered.  I didn’t realize how much grief can affect your ability to decide things, but it makes a lot of sense because of all the emotions rolling through you at that time.  Realizing this made me so thankful that I had already finished the first part of my konmari journey – where I went through everything I owned and decided what sparked joy and got rid of the rest.  I was in the second part where I decided on a home for each item and that is where I got side tracked due to my loss.  Things may not have a home, but at least I am not looking at a bunch of stuff that I don’t like. 🙂

Jewelry making can require a lot of decisions if you are not following a tutorial.  You may not even recognize that decisions are being made, I know I didn’t at first.  I starting having trouble finishing my pieces and I couldn’t figure out why, but I recognized how many decisions I was trying to make and the problem became clear.  As a result I have let a few unfinished pieces build up this past fall.  I decided I needed the freedom to create without the pressure of creating a finished product.

This week I was able to finish two pieces and it felt great to push through each decision I needed to make and continue on.

Here are some pictures of the Amphora Vessel Pendant (Nicole Hanna tutorial) from last

week that I finished…

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Amphora Vessel Pendant
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Amphora Vessel Pendant

It was an interesting piece to complete.  Normally I would not have had much fun with the challenges of the mirroring and the cabochon, but I really did.  I think the biggest challenges were having a larger stone to work with and needing to adjust the tutorial accordingly.  Normally that isn’t a big problem, but because I haven’t worked with many cabochons I don’t have a solid grasp on the construction for a piece made with an undrilled stone.  Last week when I was making the first part of the pendant I was wishing for a drilled stone that would stay in place instead of a slippery cabochon that kept popping out while I was trying to capture it.

I really enjoyed working with the labradorite.  All of the different hidden facets that were brought out with light made it fun to explore.  I look forward to working with more of this type of stone in the future.

Here are some pictures with the labradorite doing a couple different things based in the lighting…

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The other piece that I finished this week was created with a glass lampwork bead made by Molly Cooley.  My normal habit is to make pieces with beads I have had on hand for a while, but when I received this bead I couldn’t wait to wrap it.  I got the general design worked out in December, but I got to all of the little finishing details and got a little overwhelmed.  This week I was determined to focus and figure out those little details and make all of those little decisions.  It was a lot easier than I expected and I am thankful for that.

Here are some pictures of the completed pendant…

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Right Side View
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Left Side View
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Bottom View

I wasn’t sure how I wanted to wrap this bead at first.  I knew that I didn’t want to cover the bead at all because it is so lovely.  It was a challenge to make something that fit my style, but didn’t cover or overshadow the bead, but I am pleased with the results.

I didn’t use a tutorial for this pendant, but I did borrow a technique from a tutorial that  I have been wanting to play around with.  The smaller wire weave going over the bail is a technique from the Fern Weave Pendant tutorial by Julie Hulick.  That is a tutorial that I hope to work with in the next couple of weeks, but I wanted to incorporate that part of it into my pendant this week.

Here is a picture of the bail with the technique mentioned…

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Top View

This week has been a good reminder of how great it feels to finish things.  I know I enjoy making jewelry, but it is nice to feel that joy in the process of making and finishing different pieces.  I look forward to beginning a new piece tomorrow for Week #3!  I hope that you have a blessed week!

Winter 2017 Jewelry Challenge Week #1…Embracing My Humanity, Something a Bit More Personal

Happy New Year!  It is hard to believe that a new year has begun again.  It is an exciting time full of hope, possibilities, and plans for most.  I am one who loves to set goals and resolutions for the new year.  I enjoy the process of figuring things out and working through step by step how to reach my goals.  In the past there was no doubt in my mind that I would actually accomplish what I set out to achieve.  I am sad to say that it made me prideful and not very compassionate to others who were struggling to meet their own goals.  I didn’t realize it wasn’t a  normal thing to set my mind to something and simply do it.  For me success wasn’t an option, but a requirement.   I didn’t understand that life can get in the way and stop even the best laid plans.

Things have happened over the last five or six years that have changed this in me.  I have come to learn that there are days that it is hard to get out of bed due to a body that can barely function and the inability to move forward because of panic and and paralyzing fear.  I have learned that life getting in the way is a real thing…and I usually resent it.  I am not very fond of my humanity and it’s weaknesses…I mean after all the perfectionist in me is demanding perfection and my humanity cannot give it.  Looking back over my journey and struggles these past few years is kind of amusing to me now.  I see that it is not logical  to resist the very thing I am…a flawed human.  I know my expectations are unrealistic, but it isn’t very easy to see something when you are so close to it.  One of the driving factors to this resistance to my humanity was my need for people’s approval.  Good behavior, productivity, and dependability are praised.  In my mind receiving approval meant I was loved and had value…so I kept working towards it because we all want to be loved and have value.  What I didn’t realize as I was driving myself into the ground to gain this love and worth was I already had it.  It was something that God had already lavished upon me in Christ.  Grace is something else I have that I forget to rely on when I mess up in my humanness (which is often).  It is hard to get that to register, but I am trying to remind myself of that as I walk out each day.

You may ask what in the world does any of this have to do with a jewelry challenge?  Well, I have needed to walk in the grace I have been given.  My humanity has been in full swing this week as my best laid plans went awry.

The piece I chose to work on this week is the  Amphora Vessel Pendant Tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  I was tempted to pick a simpler tutorial to begin my challenge…one I was sure I could finish.  However in the spirit of aiming higher this year I chose this one for the challenge.  It is a tutorial that uses a cabochon as the focal and I have only made one piece with a cabochon before this.  It wasn’t a happy experience for me because the cabochon kept popping out as I was trying to wrap it.  One thing I did know is that I wanted to keep wrapping cabochons until I was comfortable with the process.

I am sad to say that I didn’t get this piece finished.  That has been a battle and it feels like a lame beginning to my challenge, but I am choosing to give myself grace.  I  will not give into the feelings that I have failed, but will instead continue making this piece until it is finished.  I will see this piece for what it is, the beginning of something great…not as a failed attempt.  It would only be a failed attempt if I quit and that is simply not something I do.

Here is a picture of my progress so far…

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Not too shabby.  The cabochon in this piece is labradorite and this is my first time working with it.  It is such a beautiful and fun stone.  The reason is because of the hidden properties of it.  When light is applied to it there are different colored flashes that come out of it.

Here is a picture to show what I mean…

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Isn’t it beautiful and so unexpected!  It is a good reminder to me on those days when I am feeling gray that I might need to shine some light on things in order to see the beauty that was there all long.

I hope that as you go through your week you find encouragement in your own struggles and dark places.  Not that the struggles or dark places themselves are beautiful, but that out of them we can become more beautiful and sometimes we get grace to see some beauty while in them.  Just remember that it won’t last forever…no matter how long the night may seem!

Some of the beauty that has come out of my struggle to embrace my humanity is I am a much more compassionate and gracious person.  While I am still working on learning to give myself grace, I can more freely give it to others.  I don’t depend on others to fill me up with love and value…I know I already have them in Christ…I just keep reminding myself of that.  This allows me to love others without needing something from them in return.  It isn’t an easy thing to do and I still fall into old patterns, but I redirect my thinking when I become aware of it.

Well, it is time to say goodbye for now.  No matter how your new year has started, I hope that you won’t quit looking for the beauty in each day.  May you find encouragement and hope for those hard places!