Monthly Archives: February 2017

Winter 2017 Jewelry Making Challenge Week #8…Fast Pace Living, Perspective and Finale

It’s hard to believe that Week #8 is already here and March is soon to begin.  I think it is a good thing.  I was doing some reflecting this week and realized how busy my life has become the past couple of months.  My husband started a new job in January and that has increased the speed of our life greatly.  We used to have time for lazy days and sloppy living because we had an abundance of time.  The funny thing is we didn’t see it at the time.  It always felt that life was busy and there was never enough time, but looking back I can see the abundance.  I am realizing that my perception of things can change depending upon where I am at.  In the moment things can seem awful, but after a few hours or a few days things improve.  It is through new information and insight that my perception changes…it just takes time.  Remembering this helps me on the really busy days that seem overwhelming.  I have realized that most of the busyness that can feel overwhelming at the time is actually a blessing.  If I can shift my thinking from all that needs done to gratitude that I have stuff to do then I don’t feel as stressed.  Instead I feel a little more prepared to get to work and be productive.  Now that might make me sound like I am an optimist or just a positive person, but that is very far from the truth.  I actually tend to be a sarcastic cynic in general that has to fight big battles for every silver lining that I find.  However, I am finding the battles are worth fighting.

I know this fast pace living is only a season and won’t last forever.  I also know that when I look back on this time I want to see that I learned how to be content and excel in those circumstances instead of being miserable, stressed, and overwhelmed all the time.  It will take work, but it will be worth it.  It already has been, I just need to give myself grace and remember I am learning and living as I go.

For my final piece of this challenge I picked the Vintage Candles Pendant Tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  This tutorial isn’t in the style I normally enjoy, but I thought it would be a good one to expand my skills with undrilled beads or cabochons.  I have made a lot of tutorials that involve mirroring in this challenge and I felt like I needed a break from it, so this was a great piece to try.

Here are some pictures of the final piece…

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Vintage Candles Pendant
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Vintage Candles Pendant (Top View)
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Vintage Candles Pendant (Bottom View)

While I wasn’t sure I would like the pendant when I bought the tutorial I actually had a lot of fun making it and am really pleased with how it turned out.  When I was making the swirls in this piece I was surprised at how nice they turned out and I was also pleased with how the curves in the wire were developing.  The tutorials with all the swirls and curls I did in Week #4 are really paying off!

When I started my first challenge in July 2015 I was such a perfectionist that I had no option but make the piece to match the tutorial perfectly.  If it didn’t match the picture of the tutorial, then I had failed.  The thing is I was really great at creating an almost perfect replica each time so I thought I was doing a good job.  Over the course of the last couple of years I have become less of a perfectionist and more of a grace giver to myself.  As a result I began creating pieces from tutorials that I had a lot more fun making, but I couldn’t make them match the picture even though that was my aim.  I thought I had lost the ability to make a piece that matched the original artist’s picture in the tutorial until this piece where I actually got pretty close with only a couple of small differences.  It is nice to see that I haven’t lost that ability and that I was able to do it and have fun while doing it.

I am thankful for the growth and progress I see the Lord working in me…through jewelry making and life in general.

Before I wrap up this challenge I want to share two of the pendants from Week #4 that I oxidized and my husband was able to photograph this week.

Here are the pictures…

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Curious and Curled Pendant #2 (Week #4)
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Curious and Curled Pendant #2 (Week#4, Top View)

 

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Curious and Curled Pendant #3 (Week #4)

 

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Curious and Curled Pendant #3 (Week #4, Bottom View)

Well, that is all for my Winter 2017 Jewelry Challenge!  I plan to take at least two months off from challenges in general so my posting won’t be as regular as it has been.  However I will still be making jewelry and I will post periodically, so I don’t think I will go completely silent…just taking a break from the time schedule a challenge sets for me. 🙂  I hope you have a blessed week!

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Winter 2017 Jewelry Making Challenge Week #7…Brave Enough

Last week I began the daring adventure of wrapping a beautiful ocean lampwork bead made by Molly Cooley and this week I finished it up.  It has been a rewarding process overall and I am glad I took on the challenge.  I realize it may not seem like a big deal in the scope of life to wrap a bead, but it is more of what is going on inside me that is the big deal.  Being brave enough to take on fear of any kind is a big deal whether you are running into a burning building to save people or asking a friend for help.  It is easy to compare your seemingly minuscule feats to others larger than life heroics, but comparison is never a good idea.  We are all different with different sets of life experiences that turn us into the person we are.  We each have a different set of struggles that won’t look anything like the person next to us.  For me is it so easy to beat myself up over my struggles because I know of others that have harder things to deal with, but that is a wrong and hurtful attitude for me to have.  I constantly need to remind myself that my value isn’t dependent upon my successes or failures, but something outside myself entirely…the value God placed in me when He created me.  When I am able to remember this and operate out of that frame of mind I find myself much more willing to be brave and try new things.

In making jewelry I find many opportunities to be brave and try new things, but there is also the temptation to compare.  If I start looking at others work in comparison to mine I fall into a critical place either of other’s work or my own and that judgement has never led me to a good place.  Instead I have found that I excel when I focus on my own journey and progress without thinking abut how I measure up or fall short.  Now this doesn’t mean I don’t challenge myself to grow…if anything I fall on the side of trying to grow too much and not being content with the progress I make.  We all must challenge ourselves but comparisons don’t usually lead us to a place of growth…just hurt or pride depending upon where you fall in comparison.  Because of this I try to focus on my journey, run my race, and be brave where I can.

Last week when I decided I was ready to be brave and wrap my first ocean lampwork bead I had an idea in my mind, but I was unsure of how to bring it about.  I wanted to use woven wire to mimic the rolling flow of ocean waves to match the bead.  I am not good at drawing out ideas so I just make things and see how they turn out.  I wove a length of wire and swirled it to match what I thought I wanted, but the idea morphed until I had a frame for the bead.

Here is a picture of the frame I created to mimic the waves…

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This piece stretched my skills in constructing a pendant because the frame wasn’t attached anywhere and I wanted it to look like a natural part of the piece instead of an afterthought.  I did run into a couple of problems including some wires that snapped while I was trying to anchor the piece, but I was able to recover and create a beautiful piece.

Here are some picture of my finished piece…

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Portal Into the Night Necklace
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Portal Into the Night Necklace (Top View)
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Portal Into the Night Necklace (Left Side View)
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Portal Into the Night Necklace (Right Side View)
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Portal Into the Night Necklace (Bottom View)
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Portal Into the Night Necklace (Back View)

When I finished the piece I was worried that I might have covered the beautiful bead too much, but then I realized that it was exactly how I wanted it to be.  The overall effect is like a portal looking our into the ocean at night which I really like.  It reminds me of standing on the balcony at night looking out into the ocean through moonlight in Destin, Florida.  Remembering that creates such joy and rest in my mind and I am glad I was able to capture a piece of that in this necklace.  I don’t normally name my pieces but this one seemed to supply its own…Portal Into the Night.

It’s a bit of an odd thing for me when my creativity takes me places I wasn’t trying to go.  I like to plan and know where I am heading in general, but being creative with wire gives me a safe place to explore the unknown and delight in the journey as well as the destination.  I am grateful that I get to do something that I really enjoy and grow along the way.

It is about time to wrap up this post, but before I do I wanted to share some pictures of a couple of the necklaces that I oxidized and my husband photographed this week.

Here are the pictures…

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Oxidized Fern Weave Pendant with Labradorite (Week #3)

 

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Oxidized Fern Weave Pendant with Labradorite (Week #3)

 

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Oxidized Curious and Curled Pendant (Week #4)
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Oxidized Curious and Curled Pendant (Week #4)

I still have two more oxidized pendants from Week #4 to share and I plan to do that next week along with my final project for this challenge.  I hope that you have a great week and will be able to find some way to be brave in your journey this week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life, Konmari Update, and Winter 2017 Jewelry Making Challenge Week #6…Worth the Time

In January 2016 I began a journey of going through my home using the Konmari Method by Marie Kondo.  In July 2016 I had completed the discarding part of the process…which is where I went through everything (yes everything) and figured out which items sparked joy for me then got rid of everything that didn’t.  The second part of the process is finding a home for all of the objects that bring me joy.  I would love to say that I was so motivated by finishing the process that I just zipped through that stage and was the perfect example for the Konmari method.  However if you have read my blog, you know that isn’t true.  The truth is I finished the discarding process out of pure discipline and perseverance.  As a reward for finishing this part of the process I decided to turn my craft room into a personal haven instead of a storage room for all of my crafts and other junk.  I began this project the last week of July.  I thought creating a special space and finding a home for everything in there first would really jump start the second phase of my Konmari journey with joy.

Well things were progressing okay until the final week of August when my sister passed away unexpectedly.  That pretty much blew everything up as far as goals and progress.  I was still in the midst of painting my room and I was so grateful to have something to keep me busy that didn’t require a lot of thought.  It took me a good three months before I had my room finished and everything had a home.  I found myself really struggling with trying to decide where stuff would go because I didn’t feel much joy at all and grieving makes decision making almost impossible.  I gave myself time and space to grieve and on the days I could figure some things out I would.  Most days though all I could do was remind myself of the truth…I hadn’t failed in my big goal I was just knocked down for a time.

It was hard when January 2017 rolled around and I realized it had been a year since I started the process.  However I kept reminding myself of the truth and continued working as I could.  In January I started taking pictures of items I plan to sell online.  The process was drawing out quite a bit and I thought it might be due to some grief, but I realized it was because I was bored.  It was nice to see that grief wasn’t keeping me from progressing, but a normal thing was.  After a week of this I decided it was time to set some goals and reasonable deadlines for my Konmari journey.  It was great to get things out on paper that I need to finish up.  When it came to setting the deadlines I was a little nervous, but I knew I needed an ending point in mind instead of “whenever I get it done”.  Today was my first deadline and after working really hard this week I was able to finish my project last night!  It was such a wonderful feeling to say the least.  I hope to continue meeting my deadlines and be finished with my Konmari journey as a whole by July 1, 2017.  We shall see what happens, but that is my goal.

Besides working hard at completing some Konmari tasks this week I have also been working on a new pendant.  I have spent most of my time this year working with tutorials and I have felt the desire growing in me to create one of my own pieces.  Also after last week I really wanted to be able to spend my time with some slow wire wrapping to remind myself that I do quality work.  So I decided to be really brave and wrap one of the ocean lampwork beads by Molly Cooley that I have been hoarding.  The particular bead I chose to wrap this week was the first bead I ever bought from her.  I realized that I have been hoarding…I mean admiring it for a little over a year.  When I first came across Molly’s beads I couldn’t believe that a bead could be so beautiful.  The night time ocean scenes are my absolute favorite.  Over the last year I have bought several of her beads.  I have gotten brave enough to to wrap two lovely tree beads and one ocean heart bead.  I haven’t been brave enough to wrap the round ocean beads until this week.

Here are some pictures of the beads I mentioned above that I have wrapped and helped me to gain confidence in my skills…

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When I began gathering my wire and other supplies for my pendant this week I would glance at the bead and get a little nervous and ask myself if I was really going to do this. Finally I came to the point of telling myself that if I wrapped the bead and wasn’t happy with the results then I could cut the bead out, toss the wire, and begin again.  That was a freeing thing to realize.  It is one of the things I appreciate about wire wrapping…second chances.

Last week when I was scrolling through my Pinterest feed, I came across a new weave that I really liked and wanted to try.  I decided to try it on this week’s piece.  It wasn’t too hard to do overall since the basic pattern is part of a weave I use in most of my pieces.  It did require me to pay attention to each wrap though because there was a new order.  It also was a little challenging because my six base wires were 60 cm long.  That is a lot of wire to keep straight, but  I had a lot of fun taking my time to create the large section of weave that began my piece.

Here is a picture of the new weave I learned…

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One of the neat things about wire weaving is how the pattern looks different on each side.  Sometimes it can look like a mess, but sometimes there is a new pattern waiting to be discovered.  In this case I found the back to be very pretty and I decided to incorporate the pattern of it in another part of my pendant.  It was a little more tricky to figure out than the first one, but I got it without too much drama.

Here is a picture of the weaving pattern I found on the back of the other new weave…

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Those two sections of weaving actually took up most of my time that I set aside for jewelry making this week.  This week my Konmari task took up most of my time in general and because my husband and I have set aside this weekend for some “us” time I didn’t finish my piece.  Normally I would be disappointed that I didn’t finish the piece, but I am not.  I am glad that I didn’t rush it just to finish.  I want my wire work to match the beauty of the ocean bead and that will take some planning and patience.  It will most definitely be a worth while endeavor.

Here is a picture of my overall progress so far…

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I have attempted to mimic some ocean waves with wire that I plan to implement into my pendant.  I look forward to sharing the finished piece with you next week.  I also hope that I will have time to photograph the oxidized pieces from the past several weeks.  We shall see how it all works out.  I hope that you have a blessed week!

Winter 2017 Jewelry Making Challenge Week #5…When I Don’t Go With My Gut

Last week I really enjoyed making three pendants and the speed in which I accomplished them in.  This week I wanted to continue that speed and see if I might be able to make more than one piece, but sadly it didn’t work out the way I had anticipated.

I chose the La Petite Pendant Tutorial by Nicole Hanna for my main project this week.  Since I have been trying to work on improving my skills in working with undrilled stones and beads I thought this tutorial would be another great step.  I was correct that it would help me grow in that area, but it ended up being in what I don’t want to repeat rather than what I succeeded in.

In the beginning things were going okay.  There were some parts of the tutorial I wasn’t very confident on, but I figured they would work out eventually because they usually do.  A little way into the pendant frame I ended up with some wires that were too tight and ended up bunching up.  I used my flat nose pliers to flatten the area out, which is something I normally do.  What I didn’t realize was that I had flattened it too much and created a hole in the back side.  The hole wasn’t merely a separation in the wire, but a place where the wire had been flattened almost as if I had hammered it.

Here is a picture with the hole in the section of wire I mentioned…

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The hole is near the bottom part of the wrapped column of wire.

I knew there wasn’t a way to repair it and I thought I should restart the project since I wasn’t too far into it.  However I didn’t go with my gut at this point and I continued on.  I didn’t want to lose the time I had already invested and I thought it would mean I wouldn’t get to another project this week if I chose to begin anew.

Several years ago when I started making wire jewelry I used the wire that I found at my local  craft store which was colored coated copper and silver plated wire.  The problem I found with these wires was the marks that marred the coating no matter how careful I was.  I eventually found a special coating for my pliers, but that didn’t always help.  It is so discouraging to finish a piece, but mar the coating during the final small adjustments that it needs.  One of the reasons I love working with raw copper wire is because of its forgiving nature.  If I get tool marks on it I can file and polish them out and it looks like new wire.  I am no longer afraid to make mistakes with my wire and that has made making jewelry much more fun.

One thing I found out on this piece is that even though my wire can take the filing my beads can’t.  Now I do know that, but I wasn’t paying attention to the bead, so I accidentally ended up sanding off some of the coating on my swarovski rivioli bead.  I didn’t realize that the coating on the back is what gives it the beautiful colors reflected through the front.  Lesson learned…and I needed to pick a new bead since I learned it the hard way.

Here is a picture of the pretty rivioli I planned to used…

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The white/clear part in the very center is where I sanded the color off.

 

Normally at this point in a project I would walk away and take a break because I don’t do my best work when irritated or frustrated.  However once again I ignored what I thought best so I could finish the piece and move on to something else.  Well my assumptions that things would just work out if I kept going really didn’t work out so well.  I ended up with a finished piece that I really didn’t like and one I don’t plan to sell because I am not satisfied in the quality of the piece.

Here are some pictures of the finished necklace…

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La Petite Pendant (Right View)
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La Petite Pendant (Left View)

 

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La Petite Pendant (Front View)

I am not sure if you can really tell in the pictures that the green rivioli focal bead actually comes to a point in the center.  That means the point should be facing the front and as you can see in the “Front View” picture it is actually a little to the left.  Sadly this throws the whole piece off visually for me since it is meant to be a symmetrical pendant.  That is one of several things that makes me unhappy with the finished product.  I tried to see if I could correct the issue, but I guess it was made early on in the process so I couldn’t straighten it without doing significant damage to the piece.  It will be something to pay closer attention to in the future.

There were many lessons I learned from this pendant, so while I didn’t like the finished product, it was a worthwhile journey and opportunity for growth.

Here are some of the lessons I learned/remembered…

~Trust my gut!

~It is better to walk away for a short time and return to success than push forward to failure.

~Don’t assume everything will work out…make plans and choices so it does.

~Be present in the moment…even in creating.

~Finishing something is important, but it isn’t always the most important.

~There is a difference in the speed gained by being in a “groove” of wire wrapping and the speed I try to attain by rushing my progress…the difference is the quality of my work.

~I am happiest with quality over quantity.

While I did finish this piece early in the week I found that it messed with my jewelry making the rest of the week.  I had planned to make some viking knit end caps for a necklace I already made, but it turned out to be really stressful so I decided to wait on making them.  It is a personal item, so I have all the time I need.  I am just thankful I learned my lesson and decided to wait instead of pushing through.  I also had planned to have all of my necklaces of the past couple of weeks oxidized and share pictures of them this week.  I did get them all oxidized, but not polished or photographed.  Instead I plan to work on them this coming week.

Here is a preview picture of them…

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Pendants that are oxidized, but not polished

 

Well, that is it for this week.  I look forward to a fresh week and new pieces of jewelry to create!  I am getting the itch to create something without a tutorial again, so I will probably do another of my pieces in the coming weeks.  I hope you have a blessed week!

“Change is inevitable.  Growth is optional.” ~John C. Maxwell