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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

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

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

Here is a picture of all three pendants…

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Curious and Curled Trio of Pendants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some things I learned/remembered this week are…

~Jewelry making is so fun!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Summer Challenge Week #1…When a Tutorial Goes Awry

The first week of my summer challenge has gone well.  I chose to do the Twisted Pendant or Earrings Tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  I opted to make a pendant instead of earrings.  I am finding that I don’t enjoy making earrings very much.  The mirroring aspect drives me crazy because of trying to get them to match perfectly, so I avoid that stress unless I absolutely cannot avoid it.  I hope one day I will grow out of it, but until I do I will manage it by avoidance. 🙂  Onto my piece for this week…the Twisted Pendant.

This tutorial turned out to be a pretty fun one to do.  I was surprised that I was able to sit and make it without a lot of drama and stress.  This is especially surprising because there were two places the I had to alter the tutorial to make it work with what I had made.  I will point out these areas in the pictures to come.

Here are some pictures of the completed piece…

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Completed Twisted Pendant
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Completed Twisted Pendant
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Twisted Pendant-Bottom View

 

In the picture above on the right side below the bead is the first place where I needed to alter the tutorial.  In my shaping of the piece I ended up with a lot of extra space that shouldn’t have been there, so I needed to cover it up somehow.  I ended up saving the base wires instead of trimming them because I was already aware of this problem and that would give me some extra wire when I needed it.  I am also thankful that I always add 10cm of extra length to each of my base wires in case I need extra and this time I did!  I think it turned out well and I am encouraged that I didn’t stress out at all, I actually was confident I would figure it out and could make it look nice. Now that may not seem like a big deal to some, but if you have read any of my entries from the early part of my Jewelry Making Challenge from last year you will know that it is a huge measure of growth because something like this would shut me down before and in my mind I couldn’t finish the piece because I wasn’t making the tutorial…yes I know I have issues…but I am conquering them with the Lords help and facing the hard things instead of running away. 🙂

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Twisted Pendant-Top View

The second issue I ran into was in the area pictured above.  If you look up the tutorial picture on Nicole Hanna’s page you will see that the tutorial actually has the swirl with the coiled wire and bare wire (top right side above bead) a lot larger, more in the center, and the jump ring going through it.  That was actually what I did and thought I had finished the piece but I noticed where I had anchored those final base wires wasn’t holding very well so I tried to make it more secure and I realized I hadn’t secured it around other base wires like I thought.  Another weave had gotten close enough to the bead that I had mistaken it as the place where the wire went through the bead, but it wasn’t.  I was disappointed at this and wondered what I could do.  I considered just keeping the piece as is, anchoring it as well as I could, and keeping the piece for myself since I would know I needed to be careful with it.  The more I thought about it the more it bothered me, so I ended up pulling the swirl tighter so I could reach the nearest base wires to secure it on and anchored them properly.  I am glad I fixed it and overall I am pleased with the pendant.  I do think I might try it again in the future and pay more attention to where I am doing my anchoring.  That is the first time I have done that but it may not be the last, however at least I know how to fix it.  I think that is one of the most fascinating things about wire is its versatility.  You can do most anything with it and in the end it will come out looking pretty good…if you keep going.

I do have another piece that I made several weeks ago to share, but it isn’t technically part of the challenge. 🙂

I made  the Sunset Clouds Pendant using the tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  It was a really fun piece to make.  The construction of this piece was really different from the normal methods used in Nicole Hanna tutorials, but it was a great learning experience.  There were a couple of places I did some things a little different.  It is exciting to see myself being okay with the piece not matching the tutorial perfectly.  I am having a lot more fun in creating and that is the way I want it.

Here are some pictures of the completed piece…

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Completed Sunset Clouds Pendant
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Completed Sunset Clouds Pendant
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Sunset Clouds Pendant-Close Up

Well, I guess that is all for now.  I will pick out a new tutorial to start on Monday.  I am thinking a bracelet, but we shall see.  I hope you all have a blessed week!