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…
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!
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…
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…
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…
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…
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!
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…
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…
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!
This has been a very productive week for me in jewelry making. I have four necklaces and the beginnings of a bracelet to share this week.
First I want to share the Wave Cross Pendant that I made last week. I oxidized and polished it so it is ready to go.
Here are some pictures of the Wave Cross Pendant…
The second necklace I want to share is a cabochon pendant that I started several weeks ago but finished up this week. This was my first attempt at wrapping an undrilled gemstone cabochon. I usually work with drilled beads and most of them are made of glass so this was quite a change. I used a video from Oxana Crafts on youtube.com to get the basic construction design and then I tried to make the details my own. I was pleased with how it was going and thought I would try something more fancy with the top half of the design. I twisted the wire, but found I had a hard time getting it to match up or look as smooth as I wanted it to. Honestly, I am not crazy about that part of it, but I wasn’t sure what else to do with it so I tried to make the best of it. The most challenging part of this pendant was finishing the back because it is an undrilled stone that I was trying to encapsulate with the wire instead of building around it with wire like I usually do. The cabochon kept popping out of the back and it was quite frustrating, but I finished it and then set it aside for several weeks. This week I finished up the top part of it and then oxidized it. I am still unsure if I like working with cabochons, but I will wait to make the final call until I have done a few more. I do know that I really enjoy looking at cabochons, especially labradorite!
Here are some pictures of my cabochon necklace…
The last three things I have to share are what I made this week. I have really been wanting to try some new techniques so I dove into them this week.
The first technique I tried was making swirls with my wire instead of weaving it. The first pendant I made using this technique was using the Swirly Twirly Lampwork Bead Pendant from Oxana Crafts (youtube). The lampwork bead I used in this pendant was made by Katerina Sojkova. I found this technique to be quite fun and easy to use. I was able to be relaxed about making the piece and didn’t feel like it had to be a certain way and that is the kind of mindset this technique needs.
Here are some pictures…
Isn’t it so cute! I included the picture with a quarter to show how small it is. One of the best things about this technique is that it can be done pretty quickly which gives me options to make a simple and more economical necklace.
The other tutorial by Oxana Crafts (youtube) that I used is called Swirly Bead Pendant. I incorporate the swirl technique and wire weaving in the same pendant. I found myself really wanting to make something else this week and this pendant was it. It was a fun pendant to make and again didn’t take as long as some of my other pieces.
Here are some pictures…
Didn’t it turn out pretty! I was surprised at how much I liked this pendant because normally I like symmetry, not organic designs. It just goes to show that I am becoming more and more relaxed in my perfectionist tendencies…enough to see beauty where there isn’t a lot of order.
The final piece I have to share this week isn’t anywhere near finished, but it showcased the other technique I learned this week. It is braiding with five strands of wire. I used the 5 Strand Braid Wire Wrapped Cabochon video tutorial by CSL Designs (youtube) to learn this technique. I may try it with a cabochon one day, but I wanted to create a bracelet with it this week. The technique was easy to learn and wouldn’t normally be challenging to apply, but I have a knack for complicating things. Since I was making a bracelet and I wanted it to be sturdy I decided to use 14 gauge wire to braid. That is the thickest gauge I have worked with personally. Most of my work is made using 22 and 28 gauge wire, so the 14 gauge was a bit of a shock to my hands. I eventually got the braid to work out okay and did a section large enough for a bracelet. Then I added some half round wire to hold it together and shaped it around my bracelet mandrel. That is how far I made it before I decided to save it for another day.
Here is a picture of the progress so far…
It is definitely rough around the edges, and I almost tossed it, but I saw its potential and decided to save it for another day.
Whew! That was a lot to share for one week. I hope you enjoyed what I made because I know I enjoyed learning the new techniques and making them. I hope you have a great week to come!