Category Archives: KonMari Method Tidying Event

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!

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 Challenge Week #7…A Great Week of Finishes and a First

In the past month I have sold four pieces of my jewelry.  It was something that was unexpected, but I am so thankful and humbled by it.  The reason it was a surprise is because I haven’t been actively seeking customers through marketing.  I have an Etsy store where I have listed some of my early pieces, but I have close to 20 pieces that I have finished but haven’t listed.  My focus has been on other areas in my life in order to complete some short term projects and that hasn’t left me with the time to invest in my jewelry business yet.  The biggest project I have been working on was finished this week and I am super excited about it.  I have spent the last 6+ months going through literally everything I own and determining if it sparks joy for me or not.  I have gotten rid of everything that didn’t spark joy.  This is the konmari tidying event that I have mentioned in a few previous posts.  Now all I need to do is find a home for the things I have decided to keep…this will be the fun part in my opinion.  I am really looking forward to taking inventory this week and coming up with a plan to get everything where I want it.  I like plans and lists in general in case you haven’t noticed. 🙂  Something else I have finished this week is my six week 0 to 5k walking plan.  I actually walked almost 4 miles which is more than a 5k. It was a great feeling of accomplishment.  I have been unable to do much exercise due to other health issues, so the fact that my body was able to do this is a big deal and I am so thankful for it!

Well that raps up my “finishes”, now it is time for the “first” that I mentioned in my title.  One of the pieces of jewelry that I sold was a custom order and it was my first time to make a custom order.  Custom orders have always seemed like a big deal to me because I know how hard I can be to please and how much I would want to please others in what I make for them.  It just seemed like way too much stress to try and work out, but I have to say that wasn’t my experience in this case.  I had a previously made piece that my customer liked and I was able to create a customized piece based on it.  That really helped things go well because I had a general idea of where I was going and all I had to do was customize it.

I ended up using the basics from the Sunset Cloud Pendant tutorial from Nicole Hanna and added the colors that my customer wanted.  I also needed to adjust the tutorial for three beads instead of four.  In my first piece I used 6 mm beads and they blended in well with the wire work, but this time I wanted to use 8 mm beads to make them more prominent because I was making a “family” necklace, which is like a mother’s ring but this was for a child to remember the parents by using their birthstone colors instead of a mother remembering her children by their birthstones.  I also needed to alter the wire weaving because I was eliminating one bead and I needed to make sure I would still end up with a circle like piece that flowed well and had good spacing.

Here is a picture of the necklace that I made following the Sunset Clouds Pendant Tutorial several weeks ago…

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Sunset Clouds Pendant Tutorial

Here are some pictures of the one I customized this week…

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Customized Family Pendant
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Customized Family Pendant
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Close Up of the Customized Family Pendant

I am so pleased with how it turned out and that my alterations were successful in the end.  I hope my customer will be pleased with the results as well.  It was a fun piece to make and I liked the challenge of altering the tutorial for a different number of beads because it showed me that I have gained good knowledge on the construction techniques in wire work in general.  It is so great to see the growth in my journey because I can remember a time when I would have been too overwhelmed to even try because the though of altering a tutorial would have been too much.  I thank the Lord that my fear of the unknown and trying new things is shrinking and I am taking on new challenges.

Well, that is all for this week.  I hope that you have a great week that is full of love encouragement, adventure, and growth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Konmari Revelations, Something New, and a Jewelry Update

Another month has passed and a lot has been accomplished in that time.  Normally I know exactly what I am going to write and the order that I want to share it in, but I find myself a little muddled.  This is exactly the reason I haven’t written anything in this period of time…I mean I wouldn’t want to come across in a less than perfect way (oh no is that perfectionism rearing it’s ugly head again).  This calls for drastic measures…writing without a plan and hoping for the best and grace from the ones that read it. 🙂

Let’s start with my tidying event (Konmari).  I have been in the “discarding” part of my tidying event since January 4 of this year.  I completed the first three categories (Clothing, Books, and Papers) in about six weeks.  I started the fourth category (Komono, which is miscellaneous) on February 15 and I recently just finished that huge category on April 27.  That is two months, two weeks, and two days which it took me to work my way through twenty-two subcategories such as dishes, crafts, electronics, etc.  It was a long process to say the least.  I had times of struggle over the amount of time it was taking me, but I had to let that go each time it came up because I knew one thing for sure…I WAS GOING TO FINISH THIS PROCESS!  Oh, sorry for yelling…it was at myself, not you. 🙂

On May 1 I began the fifth category (Mementos-sentimental items) which I think will be the most challenging of all.  I have been a little surprised at how much extra emotional stress I have been experiencing this week just by having the stuff in my living room, which is where I gather and sort all of my stuff.  Most of it is in totes or boxes so I can’t see a lot of it, but just being in the same room with the stuff brings out feelings that I didn’t expect…and really don’t want to feel.  I know this is something that I have chosen to do and that I want to do in the long run, but in the short term some of this stuff is feeling like pulling teeth…it is just that fun! 🙂  There is no doubt in my mind that with the Lord’s help I will be able to finish this, but I am not that excited about the prospect on this side of things.

Here are some things that I have experienced, realized, or learned from my tidying event so far…

~This is my journey and it will take as long as it takes.

~Getting rid of things is hard, especially when I keep focusing on what I am getting rid of and not focusing on all that I chose to keep because it sparks joy.

~Sentimental items carry a lot of emotional stress and I need to be prepared to take my time, give myself plenty of grace, and proceed with prayer covering from friends and family.

~Having space brings me joy.

~Being surrounded by only those things I love does bring me joy, even when they are still in chaos.

~Having less stuff frees up my creativity.

~This process is just that, a process.  I won’t be transformed over night, but I have already seen changes in my confidence level when making decisions and not second guessing myself.

The next thing I want to share about is something new I have discovered about a month ago.  I love to plan, organize, make lists, and so on, but it can be frustrating to try and keep up with everything.  It makes me happy to makes lists of stuff, but I realize that may be odd to some people, but just know it sparks great joy in me! 🙂  With this being the case it has been hard for me because I had to stop doing my normal planning, organizing, and list making activities a few years ago due to unforeseen circumstance in my life and the stress I was under and how it started affecting me.  Now during that time I have been looking for other ways that would fill that need but not add stress to my life and make my perfectionism kick into overtime but I haven’t been successful over the long term.  I really thought I would just have to continue limping along making a daily to-do list if I could, but not making many long term plans.  I have noticed a shift within myself over the last year that is so encouraging.  I am breaking free from perfectionism within myself and my tendency towards people pleasing.  It is so wonderful to see things changing in these areas because such bondage comes with perfectionism and people pleasing.

Anyway, what I found is something called bullet journaling.  You can see a video describing the basics here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm15cmYU0IM or at bulletjournal.com.  It is an all in one planner, to do list, habit tracker, etc…really whatever you want it to be.  For myself I like to keep things pretty but also simple.  I really found a lot of fun things and gained a greater understanding of the concept by watching the youtube videos by Kara Benz (boho berry) at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPTjjS_Cqrde9bR9Gz4PqdA and reading her blog entries on it at bohoberry.com.  There are so many different ways you can create your own bullet journal and so many possibilities on what you want to include in it.  For me the best thing about it is that there is so much grace in it.  I mess up and move on…the planner isn’t wrecked and my “plan” isn’t ruined.  The fact that I can do this and enjoy it is amazing and I am so thankful for the growth I am seeing in this area! 🙂  I might share some of my pages one day, but for now if you are interested in seeing bullet journal pages all you have to do is search for “bullet journaling” and you will be overloaded with options.

Finally I will share that promised jewelry update…

I made these pieces back in late March or early April.  The first one I made using the Circle Pendant tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  It was a tricky piece to make because of it’s circle shape and the perfectionist in me reared it’s ugly head at first, but then I decided to just do my best and see how it turned out.  It turned out great!

Here are some pictures of it…

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Circle Pendant
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Circle Pendant
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Close Up of Circle Pendant

 

One thing I realized when I was making this piece is that I have gained the ability to move forward in a tutorial when things don’t go as planned and I can still make it look nice.  When I first started doing tutorials and I made a mistake it would make the project come to a halt and I couldn’t see my way around it.  This is a great ability to have and can only be obtained by practice and perseverance.

The other piece I have to share is one that I made without any tutorial.  I took a bead, cut a bunch of wire, and wove and wrapped like crazy.  It is a fun and sometimes frustrating thing to do, but I love it when I see the finished piece.  I used a lampwork bead made by Katerina Sojkova.

Here are some pictures of the finished piece…

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Full View
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Bottom View
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Top View
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Side View

Some things I learned when making this piece were…

~I reach a point in most of my projects where I don’t like it and am not sure I will like it when I finish it.  The funny thing is, I almost always end up loving each piece I make.

~I really like copper beads because they can add texture to a piece, but not add color that distracts from the main focal bead.

~I can try new techniques and succeed.

~The three most important tools I have are practice, patience, and perseverance.

Well, that is it for now.  I plan to have an announcement sometime within the week about an upcoming challenge I am going to do.  Until then, I hope you have a blessed week!

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…

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Original Hearts in Asymmetry Necklace
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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…

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Dew Drop Pendant (made with bare copper and oxidized)
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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…

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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…

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Front view of coiled coil technique
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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!

 

 

Tidying Event Update and Several Firsts

This week I have been going through my large amount of stamping/scrapbooking stuff.  Really, I should say gargantuan amount of stuff because once I gathered all of it into one area that is what I ended up with.  I asked my husband how all of that fit into my craft room and he said I am just good at making a lot of stuff look neat in small spaces and you can’t see how much is there.  At this point I am not sure whether that is a gift or a curse, however it is being remedied by this tidying event so no worries there. 😏  Anyway there has been much to process this week…stuff and emotions attached to the stuff.  It has been eyeopening in many good ways as well as a few challenges, but with the Lord’s help I am conquering the piles of stuff and emotions.

Once I finish this category I will be half way through my Komono main category which is really exciting!  I look forward to being finished with the discarding process and then moving onto the organizing phase which is where my house will begin to take shape once again and that is a happy thought indeed!

Well, now that I have updated you on the tidying even, now it  is time for the real fun…recent jewelry projects!  I have five pieces of jewelry to share that I have made over the last several weeks and there are several firsts that have taken place for me in the process of creating theses pieces.

The first one I have to share is a necklace that I made following the Hearts in Asymmetry Pendant tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  This piece was pretty straight forward and fun to make.  I really like the way the hammered larger gauge wire looks with the weaves and it inspires me to try my own version of that in the future.  I am really pleased with how this piece turned out, but I didn’t have any new experiences in creating this piece like I did with the other pieces, so I thought I would share it first.

Here is a picture of it…

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Hearts in Asymmetry Pendant
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Hearts in Asymmetry Pendant

 

The second piece I have to share is a bracelet that I made following a tutorial by Margie Mugavero (MaxxBelle Creations) called Twisted Braid Copper Bracelet.  This was the first tutorial I did by this artist.  I found the tutorial to be pretty straight forward and it was broken down into helpful sections.  This was my first experience in working with eleven base wires at one time.  I found it to be quite a challenge to manage at first, but eventually I got the hang of it.  I did find that working with so many base wires at one time really slowed down how quickly I could weave, and the process got a little boring after a while.  I actually stopped working on this for a while and created the heart necklace that I have already shared and another necklace that I will be sharing next.  I found it to be helpful to break up this project and work on something else for a while.  I think that is something that is common in the creative process with most people, but it isn’t something that I like to do in general because in the past I haven’t finished projects that I did that with.  I don’t think that will be the case with jewelry in general, but if it is, then I probably really didn’t want to do the unfinished piece in the first place.  I am coming to the conclusion that my creative time is too valuable to be working on things I don’t enjoy…unless someone is paying me a bunch of money for a custom piece, and even then it won’t be too often.  In the future if I make this bracelet again, I will use some techniques and tips that I learned from my Wire Weaving Bracelets: Basics and Beyond class by Sarah Thompson at craftsy.com and I think the bracelet will go a lot quicker and smoother.

Here are some pictures of the bracelet…

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Twisted Braided Copper Bracelet
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Twisted Braided Copper Bracelet
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Close Up of Twisted Braided Copper Bracelet
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Clasp of Twisted Braided Bracelet

 

The third piece I have to share is a necklace made following the Faery’s Tear Pendant tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  I have to say this is my favorite tutorial that I have done.  I have made three of these so far and I wear the first one most every day.  The first two I made using copper wire, but this one I made using fine silver wire.  It was my first time working with fine silver or any precious metal, so I wanted to use a tutorial that I was comfortable with.  It wasn’t as intimidating to work with the silver as I thought it would be…probably because I had a tutorial to follow.  I am sure when I try to make a piece on my own I will need more courage to conquer the fear of messing it up. 🙂  In working with the fine silver wire, I found it to be quite soft which made it interesting with weaving.  I tend to pull things pretty snug when working with my copper wire and I jerked too hard a few times with the silver until I found a good tension to work with.  I picked dark colored beads to work with because of the brightness of the silver wire, and I was very happy with the results.  I had planned all along to oxidize this piece and I was unprepared for how the fine silver would oxidize.  First it took so much longer than my copper wire pieces to oxidize, then when it did fully oxidize it looked like this…

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Back of fine silver Faery’s Tear Pendant after it was oxidized but before it was polished

Isn’t that crazy!  The colors look so pretty.  I have seen other people post pictures of things similar to this, but I thought they might be editing in the color effects.  This shows me they were not adding color effect…that is just what fine silver does.  It may be the same with argentium silver and sterling silver too, but I haven’t worked with those yet.  I want to make a piece with the intention of not polishing away the darkness and colors of the wire, but I will need to choose lighter beads to do that.

Here are some pictures after it has been polished to bring out the highlights…

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Faery’s Tear Pendant made in fine silver
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Faery’s Tear Pendant made in fine silver

I am glad that polishing helped my darker beads show up better.  I was a little concerned for a while, but it turned out just fine and I have more experience now that will help me chose beads to match the wire better in the future.  I really like the way the colors still show through after I polished it in certain areas.  It gives the piece a more rich feel and the blue in the wire brings out the blue crystal bead in the center.

Something I found interesting in making another Faery’s Tear Pendant is how different it turned out from my first piece.

Here is a picture of both pieces together…

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Faery’s Tear Pendants (copper wire on left, fine silver on right)

I think they are both lovely pieces, but the bails are different and that changes the shape of the whole piece.  My copper pendant is more flared out and the silver one is more narrow.  I just think it is neat how following the same set of instructions can turn out differently.  It just proves that each piece is a one of a kind creation because it is a made by a person and not a machine.

The fourth piece I have to share is a necklace I made following the Delicate Hearts Pendant tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  I was looking forward to using this tutorial with some other heart shaped lampwork beads I bought last year, but I couldn’t use them because the hole ended up being horizontal instead of vertical. So the heart shaped lampwork bead I used was made by Jacqueline Parks and it had the needed vertical hole in it.  I actually started on this piece the day I received the bead because it was so pretty and I just couldn’t wait.  I thought the tutorial would be a quick one for me, but those turned out to be famous last words.  It ended up taking me three evenings to work through it and get it to the point to where I was pleased with my wire work.  I did stress out over how long it was taking me, but I told myself to relax and enjoy the process…not an easy thing when I had the expectation that I could make it pretty fast.

Here are pictures of the completed necklace…

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Delicate Hearts Pendant
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Delicate Hearts Pendant

This is the first piece that I have made that I am not really happy with as a finished product.  I really like the bead and I think the wire work looks pretty, they just don’t go well together in my opinion.  I think at some point I will redo this piece (unless someone really likes it as is and purchases it), but for now I am leaving it because there are many more projects in my mind to create in the near future.

The fifth and final project I have to share is by far my favorite.  It is a piece that I created without following any tutorials and just waited to see where the wire would take me.  When I cut my wire and began weaving I was actually working with an entirely different bead.  I became frustrated that is wasn’t working out and then I realized that it would work perfectly with one of my lampwork beads made by Molly Cooley.  I switched gears and over a three week period the piece was born.

I won’t make you wait to see it because I am too excited to share it, so here are some pictures of my finished necklace which I am calling “Flourishing in Spring”…

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Front View of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace
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Side View of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace
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Top View of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace
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Left Side of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace
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Right Side of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace

 

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Bottom of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace

Didn’t it turn out lovely!  I honestly didn’t know I had it in me to do that, especially without a tutorial to follow.

There are a few firsts that I experienced in creating this piece.  The biggest first would probably be the bead I was working with.  It is the most expensive thing I have wrapped and I was nervous about that fact because I wanted my wire work to do the exquisite bead justice, but at the same time not overwhelm it.

The most complicated first I experienced with this pendant was running out of base wires and needing to add more to it to create the results I wanted.  I wasn’t sure how to do it at first, but then I realized the bead itself was the answer because the lampwork bead is very sturdy and had a pretty good size hole through the middle which proved to be very accommodating for adding in two extra base wires.

The final first I experienced in creating this piece would be the need to brace the lampwork bead so it didn’t spin.  I was trying to figure out how to do it, and I finally ended up adding a thick weave along the back and anchoring it to the front.  It was a bit challenging to weave in tight spaces during this process, but it was a good challenge.

Here is  a picture of the back of the bead to show you what I mean…

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Back of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace

I am very pleased with how this piece turned out and even more thrilled that I am starting to develop my own style in wire wrapping.  One thing about this pendant that I found interesting is how the wire weaving ended up matching the bead.  The left side is simple and the right side is full and bursting with weaves and texture.  The lampwork bead has the tree trunk on the left and the right side is bursting with leaves.  I can honestly say I didn’t plan it that way, but I was so excited that it matched the flow in that way.

I look forward to creating more pieces without tutorials in order to see where my creativity will flow and creating some more pieces with tutorials so I continue to learn.

Whew, this is a long post!  I think I may need to share a little more often and not let it build up, but we shall see how time allows.  For now though I must get back to tidying up, wire wrapping, and everyday life.  I hope you have a blessed week and thanks for reading!

 

 

Breaking the Silence…

Wow, it has been well over a month since my grand finale.  This new year started fast and furious and has yet to stop.  One of the biggest reasons things have been so busy for me is because of a large project I have taken on.  Last fall I read the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and I knew her methods were something that I wanted to do in my own life to see if I could once and for all be rid of my clutter.  At the time I really wanted to get started, but it was the middle of November and for me the beginning of the holiday season filled with busyness of the family and preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas…not exactly the ideal time to start a big decluttering project that will require many of my resources of time and energy.  I also needed to finish up my Jewelry Making Challenge first, so I didn’t get distracted from it.  So, I waited to begin and used that time to mentally prepare myself and make any preparations needed to begin the process.  I also did as much “thinking” for the coming process that I could to avoid as many pitfalls as I could.  This lead to a lot of lists…I like lists because they help me know what is going on when my brain is overwhelmed. 🙂  I chose the date of January 4, 2016 to start my journey in this “konmari” method of decluttering and organizing my home and life.

For those who have not read the book and don’t know what the “konmari” method of tidying is I will try to summarize it for you.  You go through everything you own (I mean literally everything) in two stages…first you discard and then you organize what you chose to keep.

The discarding stage is done in categories, not in location (which is different from any other organizing method I have tried).  The categories in the book are Clothing, Books, Papers, Komono (miscellaneous), and Mementos (sentimental items including pictures).  So you gather everything in categories and take each item touch it and ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?”  If it does you keep it, if it doesn’t you get rid of it.  The organizing stage (which you do only after all of the discarding is finished) is where you give all of the things that sparked joy their home.

I have currently finished the clothing, book, and paper categories on the discarding process.  Next week I will begin going through the komono category which is pretty much everything besides clothing, books, papers, and sentimental items.  It will be an adventure because I have 22 subcategories to work through.  I am excited about this category because it holds several things I have planned to go through for years, and it will finally be accomplished.  A few examples of some of my subcategories would be CDs/DVDs, dishes, and electronic items.  My mindset will need to be “slow and steady finishes the race” because I imagine it is going to take a lot longer than the previous categories, which has been about two weeks per category.

Well that explains what has been taking up most of my time, but I have also continued to make jewelry during this time as I can.  I am excited to say that my first two pieces of this year were made without following a tutorial. I cut some wire, picked beads and did what I wanted to with it.

Here are some pictures of my first piece I created without a tutorial…

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I had a lot of fun in creating this piece.  It was so nice to not have to make sure I was doing something “just right” because of how it might effect the piece later on.  My mindset was pretty much “weave and find an anchor point”.  While I can definitely see the construction techniques and influence  I have learned from all of the Nicole Hanna tutorials I have done, it was nice to put my own spin on things for once.  I did four base wires to keep things simple and small.  I tried a few different variations on some of the weaves I have been using and was pleased with the results.  This was a pretty fun and straight forward pendant to create without a lot of problems.  The only thing I can think of with this piece that I learned was that I need to save the weaves I want to show for later in the project or else it might get buried.  I had a new variation of a weave that I wanted to showcase, but it ended up getting buried because I did it first and the way I constructed the piece caused the early weaves to be for layers not showcasing.  Oh well, I am still really happy with the pendant, but it does give me something to think about on future pieces.

Here are some pictures of the second piece I created without following a tutorial…

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I got brave with this piece and decided to use one of my lovely lampwork beads I have recently purchased.  The lampwork bead used in this pendant was made by Jolanda Van den Berg.  I decided to use 6 base wires in this pendant because I was using a larger bead and wanted to see how adding more base wires would change the piece.  It is always an interesting experience to start out weaving, especially with many base wires.  It seems so challenging when you start out and find yourself wondering if you really want to do this, but after completing a little bit of the weave things settle into a nice rhythm and it comes more naturally.  Then it just get fun!

I really enjoy using the Modified Soumak Weave in my jewelry pieces.  This weave is very versatile and I can do it pretty quickly once I get started.  I tried a variation of the weave which I had seen someone else do, and it turned out nicely.  In this variation it can be a little tricky to make sure the weave is tight, but not kink the long wire.

Here is an up close shot if the  modified weave…

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Variation of Modified Soumak Weave

When I was creating the second layer of this pendant I thought it was missing something, but I didn’t want to take away from the beauty of the lampwork bead.  Normally beads are a great way to add dimension and points of interest to a pendant, but in this case I thought adding other colored beads to it would distract from where I wanted the main focus to be.  I had ordered these copper beads just after Christmas and realized they were just what I needed.  I wanted to do something other than just string some beads on the wire…I mean I AM trying to fit every technique into one pendant after all, lol…so I decided to use the Snake Weave that I had learned from earrings I made in Week Five of my jewelry challenge last year using Lisa Barth’s book.  It turned out so lovely and it really gave that wow factor I was looking for without taking the focus from the lampwork bead.

So here are a few things I learned through making this pendant…

~When I shape my bail a certain way that is the way my pendant will hang, so I should make sure I shape it with that in mind.

~Lampwork beads are beautiful, but they also have some weight to them, so my piece may be heavier than I expect.

~I have many tools and techniques at my disposal, so I need to use them and not let fear hold me back.

There are a couple of more pieces I have finished, but I need to oxidize them and get pictures of them before I am ready to share them, so stay tuned for more goodies!  Well, it is time to get back to my decluttering so I will say good bye for now.  I hope you have a blessed day!