Tag Archives: #freeform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

week that I finished…

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Amphora Vessel Pendant
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Amphora Vessel Pendant

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

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

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

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

Here are some pictures of the completed pendant…

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Right Side View
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Left Side View
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Bottom View

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

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

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

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Top View

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

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Wrapping Up 2016

It is hard to believe that 2017 is almost here.  With the loss of my sister at the end of August I feel like I have lost the second half of 2016.  The concept of time was has been suspended and so have most of my normal activities.  Due to this inactivity, I felt like I had failed in the goals I had set out to accomplish this year.  My konmari journey has come to a stand still, my dreams of getting into shape slipped away, and my jewelry making has been almost non existent all leaving me with feelings of failure and defeat.  However after some thought I realized that none of these things are failures if I continue my journey and don’t give up no matter how beat down I may feel.

If you have read many of my past posts you may realize that I struggle with wanting things to be perfect and not messy.  The whole purpose of this blog is to share my journey of learning to accept life in all of it’s messy and imperfect beauty.  Most of that journey is shared through my jewelry making, but there are bits of my other projects and goals thrown in along with life in general.  So as 2016 wraps up, I am going to chose to embrace the hard lessons of this year and in all of the mess I will seek and find the beauty through God’s grace.

I haven’t made many pieces over the last few months, but I want to share what I have made and my journey in making them.

Shortly after my sister passed away I ended up making a pendant.  It turned into a way of expressing my grief.  I had never expressed such emotion in a creative outlet before and it turned into a very personal piece.

Here are some pictures my pendant…

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My Shrouded Heart Pendant
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My Shrouded Heart Pendant

The main focal bead I used was a heart shaped lampwork bead made by Jacqueline Parks which you can’t really tell from looking at the finished piece.  At first I was concerned that I had hidden away the pretty bead, but when I analyzed the piece I realized it was on purpose.  This pendant had become a representation of my grief over losing my sister and that is when this piece started to make a little more sense to me.  The heart bead represented my heart and I didn’t want to show it…I wanted to shroud and protect it.

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My Shrouded Heart Pendant-Top View

The bail seemed too large at first, but then I realized that the extra weaves on either side was a picture of my need for extra support during this time.

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My Shrouded Heart Pendant-Side View

The tightly woven layers were the protection that my broken heart needed to keep it from shattering in response to the pain.

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My Shrouded Heart Pendant-Bottom View

And this spiraled weave was representative on how bound up and confused I felt.

There has been a lot of processing this grief the past four months.  It has not been an easy road and it isn’t over, but I am having more good days than bad for which I am so thankful!

I also created my first two custom orders during this time.  My first custom piece was an arm cuff based off the design of a bracelet that I made using a tutorial from Sarah Thompson.

Here is a picture of the Wave Bracelet that the arm cuff was based on…

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Wave Bracelet

This was a great challenge for me in several ways.  First, I had never made an arm cuff before so I had to figure out the construction techniques of it.

Second, I wasn’t sure that it was possible to turn this bracelet into an arm cuff due to the construction of the bracelet.  From what I could tell most arm cuffs are created with the stabilizing point being in the band part of the cuff and then the ends are usually decorative.  The Wave Bracelet is the reverse of that.  The band is loose and flowing and the stabilizing point is around the hinge of the clasp.  It was a challenge to wrap my mind around it so I could create an arm cuff with the band loose and flowing with natural looking ends instead of a faux clasp end.

Third,  I had to take someone else’s  general criteria and turn them into a piece of jewelry.  This was an interesting and some what nerve wracking process because I didn’t know the person.  However, by the end of it I think it stretched me in good ways and helped expand my own perspective and ideas.

Finally, my patience was challenged in the wrapping and constructive process.  When dealing with multiple half-hard base wires that are 18 inches long there is a great need for patience…unless you just want to wad it all up. 🙂

Here are some pictures of the finished arm cuff…

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Arm Cuff
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Arm Cuff Ends
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Arm Cuff Ends
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Arm Cuff Band

This arm cuff was one of the most difficult things I have made so far and I am so glad I accepted the challenge.  I am pleased with the results and so is my customer which makes it all the more exciting and worth it.

My second custom order was for a shawl pin, which is something else I had not made before.  After completing the arm cuff this project was a lot easier due to the simplicity of the piece.  My customer gave me a general idea of what was wanted, but gave me creative freedom.  I had an idea in mind of what I wanted to create, but my first two attempts failed.  I was unsatisfied with the sturdiness of the designs I was trying to create, so I went back to the drawing board for a third time and finally had a successful design.

Here are some pictures of the finished shawl pin…

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Shawl Pin
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Shawl Pin Base
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Shawl Pin Base-Close Up View
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Shawl Pin Stick-Close Up View
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Shawl Pin Stick

I had a lot of fun making this piece and my customer was really happy with the results. This shawl pin is the first piece of jewelry I have made that is functional.  Most of the pieces I make only have the job of being pretty, but this one also needed to be productive as well.  So while I try to make all of my pieces sturdy, this one required a higher level of sturdiness and it expanded my construction skills.

That wraps up all I have made over the past few months.  I look forward to making more jewelry in the coming months.  I have some big goals for 2017 and I look forward to seeing how many I can accomplish.  I am also planning a new jewelry challenge for January and February.  It will be like some of my past jewelry challenges where I make a piece a week and then write a blog post about my experience in making it.  I think that will be a great way to get back into the habit of regularly making things and sharing about them here.  If you are interested in joining me in any of my jewelry challenges there is a Facebook group where you can do that.  Here is a link to that group…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/495846887292459/

Well, I guess this is goodbye to 2016 and tomorrow will be hello to 2017.  I hope you have a blessed New Year!

October 2016 Jewelry Challenge Week #3…Something Simple

The theme for this week’s challenge was “simple”.  It can mean many things depending upon the person.  To some it could mean minimalist and to others it might just mean less.  My definition for simple in jewelry making would be less and quick.  I love to weave wire and if I am making my own pieces I can find it hard to get a good stopping point without weaving and weaving until I end up with a “statement” necklace.  I want to be able to make a variety of pieces from really fancy and intricate to simple and elegant and still make it fit my style.  I know it is possible, but it isn’t something I will accomplish overnight.  It will take trial and error which means I need to be okay with things that doing turn out the first time…which means I need to give myself patience and grace.  It is a good challenge to grow these parts of me to say the least. 🙂

I started my week with an idea in mind and began work on a “simple” pendant.  Well as the week went on I found that pendant really wasn’t falling into the challenge theme, so on Friday I decided I needed to actually make a simple piece.  I had a quick idea in mind so I quickly went and cut a few pieces of wire that were a whole lot shorter than normal.  I picked out some beads and I began my weaving.  I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into the pendant, I just kept making it.  It took a little longer than anticipated, but it was so much quicker than one of my normal pieces.

Here are picture of the results…

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Simple Pendant
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Simple Pendant (Top View)
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Simple Pendant (Bottom View)

I think my favorite part of the piece is the tiny bail.  I love making my bails that way in my other pieces, but it looks so cute in miniature on this pendant.  I look forward to playing with new designs in the future that are simple.  I guess the key for me to remember when I do want something simple is to not think too much.  I need to have a general idea and just go with it…moving forward confidently!  It is so funny to me when I realize,”oh yeah, I can do this”.  Why is it so hard to remember those things that are encouraging and true?  I never seem to have trouble hanging onto the negative things in my mind, but I have to work really hard to hang onto the good and encouraging.  I guess that is why we are encouraged to “think on whatever is true, noble, right, lovely pure, and admirable”.  It is a thing to do in the present, something constant…not something we do once and then it is always done.  It is good to remember this, but it isn’t always easy to put into practice.  Especially when the hard things of life hit, but I have found that is when it is needed the most.

Well, we only have one more week in our challenge!  I am looking forward to creating my project for next week!  Stay tuned to see what it will be.  In the mean time, I hope you have a blessed week and will remember those good and encouraging things in your life!

October 2016 Jewelry Challenge Week #2…Fun with Swirls

This has been one of those hard weeks where it seems like very little is going right.  It wasn’t so much big things that were going wrong, but all the little things that we can take for granted.  An example would be that opening my cold coffee would result in an open container of coffee…not coffee all over me, the counter, and under the refrigerator.  Or when trying a new recipe for dinner it would actually be edible if not tasty…however when you add baking soda to cut the acidity and it reacts with the vinegar in the dish, dinner looks more like a science experiment rather than something to eat.  By the way, I don’t recommend using baking soda to cut the acidity in any dish…unless you enjoy the flavor of baking soda that is. 🙂  So since normal life seemed to be going haywire for no apparent reason other than to widdle away at my sanity, I was a little concerned about working with wire this week.  Emotions play a big part in my jewelry making process and if I am upset things generally don’t turn out very neat and tidy…and let’s face it I LOVE neat and tidy work.

There is something about working with wire that is usually calming and sparks great joy.  This week was one of those times when I was working with wire and things just seemed right. I love that feeling and I am thankful when the Lord provides those moments when all seems well.  I want to grab a hold of them and be able to relive them all the time, but it isn’t possible.  I am learning to just be present in those moments and not worry about how long they will last so I don’t miss the gift of that moment.  Is there something that helps you feel moments of “all is well”?  It is a great thing to have in this world when so much seems to be chaotic and full of pain.

Before I run too far away on a tangent, let’s get back to my jewelry project for the week.  The theme for this week was  “swirls”.  I haven’t included many swirls in my pieces mostly because I have been uncertain with twisting the wire weaves and I can struggle with making neat swirls with bare wire.  I wanted to make a pendant with swirls made out of a section of woven wire.  I was uncertain how I would go about it, but once I got started it was actually really fun.  I decided to do a full strand of the swirls and use it in place of the woven beaded strand that I really like using in my pieces.

Here are some picture of the final results…

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Swirl Pendant
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Swirl Pendant
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Swirl Pendant-Right Side View
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Swirl Pendant-Left Side View

I think it turned out really cute.  It is a smaller piece than I tend to make which I actually prefer when choosing something to wear.  However I find when I am making a piece I really love weaving and sometimes it is hard to stop. 🙂  I am finding balance in this.

I can tell that my confidence has really grown in my jewelry making skills along with my actual abilities.  When I did my six month challenge last year I would fret over whether I could make a piece of jewelry a week and I would spend time each day on the piece and eventually finish it up, but it could be a stressful thing.  Now I am making pieces without tutorials and I am not concerned about finishing.  I have learned that I will most likely be able to finish things up relatively quickly and that is such a great feeling.  I am so thankful for the growth in this area and it makes jewelry making a much more enjoyable experience.  I have several projects that I am working on at present and it keeps me from making jewelry full time, but I am looking forward to the time when I can.

This is the halfway point of my October challenge.  I am enjoying experimenting with different kinds of techniques or categorizes rather than just trying to make a piece a week.  It has been a new learning experience and I am thankful for it.  Well, I guess this is good bye for now.  I hope you have a blessed week that is full of good moments even if life seems to be hitting really hard in general.

Summer Jewelry Challenge Week #12…The Magical Word

I shared last week that I would not be entering the “Finish It” contest that Nicole Hanna is hosting due to the lack of supplies and the lack of desire to purchase new supplies just for the contest.  This week I saw an entry pop up in my Facebook news feed and it only had one bead.  I was confused because there were two beads mentioned in the materials list, so I decided to read the rules and instructions again.  I am so glad I did!  I found a magical word that allowed me to create an entry for the contest after all and I didn’t need to purchase any new supplies to do it!  The magical word was OMIT…meaning that since the second bead was not mentioned in the partial instructions given in the tutorial we could omit it.  The only thing I had to use was the supplies mentioned in the partial tutorial directions.

I gathered my supplies so I could see what I had available to work with.  It felt like slim pickens compared to what I normally work with on my pieces, but I knew that would be part of the challenge.

Here is a picture of my supplies that I could use including tools…

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Tools and materials available for use in the challenge

The first thing I did was complete the tutorial portion of the pendant.  Here is a picture to show how far that took me…

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Tutorial part of the pendant

At this point I was able to have free creative reign…but with only the wire I had here.  As a part of the contest I was able to alter one thing in the materials list and I would have liked to have been able to alter the length of the weaving wire, but I had to alter the shape of the bead because I didn’t have an oval bead.  Being able to have more weaving wire would have given me a bit of a comfort zone in this challenge, but it wasn’t meant to be and in the end I think that was a good thing.  Participating in this challenge has shown me how far I have come in my skills and creative abilities.  It has also shown me how much I have grown away from the negative side of perfectionism I used to struggle with.  A year ago I would have looked at this contest, identified the fact that it wasn’t a guaranteed success, and I would not have even attempted it.  Instead I wanted to do it and in the end was able to.

Working on this piece wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but it wasn’t easy either.  I think the biggest challenge was in my mind…overcoming the questions about whether I could actually do this or not.  I have settled into my own “style” as it were and it involves a lot of weaving and copper beads.  I found myself really missing my unlimited weaving wire and copper beads.  I think the copper beads add that little extra texture needed for interest in my pieces and I was wondering how I was going to compensate for not having them and still create a piece that fits my style.  Another challenge was thinking through each step before I did it due to the limited wire because I didn’t want to kink or break anything.  Normally I have several weaves in progress at one time because I may not be sure where I want things to end up, but I had to complete each section as I went because I only had one weaving wire.  The final challenge of this pendant was the limited tools available.  I don’t use a ton of tools in general, but I do use flat nose pliers and a beading awl to help me get all of my pieces neat and tidy.  It was a good test of my skills to see if I could use the needle nose pliers to do it.  I think trying to create a hole in the weave to anchor the weaves was the most challenging aspect of limited tools, but I was able to work it out.

Here are some pictures of my finished piece for the contest…

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Completed Pendant
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Right Angle View
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Left Angle View
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Close Up of Top
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Close Up of Right Side
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Close Up of Left Side
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Close Up of Bottom View

I am so pleased with what I was able to accomplish using the supplies given.  This challenge has definitely made me appreciate the free reign of supplies I normally have, however it was a great learning experience that stretched me even further in my jewelry making journey.  I am so thankful for the growth that the Lord is working in me through jewelry.  As I mentioned earlier, a year ago I wouldn’t have even tried to enter this contest because success wasn’t guaranteed.  I have been tempted to enter a couple of smaller contests, but I haven’t taken the plunge until now.  I don’t expect to win the contest, but I have already won many battles in my own journey of jewelry making and life through this process.

Well, now it is time to actually enter my piece into the contest and put a little piece of me out there in this way for the first time.  I might be a little nervous, but I am not going to let that stop me when I have come this far.  So here is to taking a risk and going on a daring adventure into the unknown.

I hope that you all have a blessed week that is full of daring adventures.  I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes…

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”  ~Helen Keller

Summer Jewelry Challenge Week #10…Finding the Groove

Last week I tried a few new things in wire wrapping and had fun, but one thing I really missed was the weaving.  My favorite thing about working with wire is the weaving part.  I love to make thick weaves with many base wires and I also love including a variety of different weaves in my pieces.  The only downside to weaving with many base wires is it can take a while, but it is worth it in the end.  Because I really missed weaving last week, I was pretty sure I wanted to make another piece of my own as this week’s project so I could weave like a crazy woman. 🙂

I decided to use a dyed (what I think is agate) bead that I bought a strand of last year at a bead show as my focal bead.  The stones were dyed an aqua blue color and some of them have a crackle look inside that reminds me of the ocean.

When I was gathering my supplies to begin my project I came across a section of weaving that I had created several weeks ago.  I had been seeing a weaving stitch that I found interesting and wanted to give it a try and so I did.  At the time I had planned to use it with a cabochon, but when I came across it this week I thought it would make a great focal weave in my pendant.

Here is a picture of the weave I am talking about…

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The new weave I tried is the outermost weave

When I first started this week’s project I noticed how laid back I felt about it.  There weren’t any doubts in my mind that I could create my own piece and that was a great realization!  I just started making my own pieces without tutorials in January of this year and I can remember how scared I was at the thought of even trying something without a tutorial.  The funny thing is once I started I really enjoyed seeing where the wire went without a plan to follow, and that wasn’t something I was expecting.  Now, creating my own pieces is quickly becoming my favorite way to make jewelry.  I am so thankful for the growth and progress the Lord has brought about in this area of my life.  I am amazed at the way He uses wire working to refine me and help me conquer things that I wouldn’t think possible.  Probably one of the funniest ways He has used wire working is to develop patience in me.  I have always said I am not a patient person and I hate to wait and sit still, then one day I realized that I sit for hours weaving wire…the irony was not lost on me. 😀

I got off to a pretty good start with my pendant, but things got sidetracked and I lost my groove.  There is a place that I reach in creating a project where my speed increases and the ideas are flowing.  It is a happy place and I call it my “groove”.  It is the place where I am not really thinking about what I am doing, but the wire work just flows out of me.  After the first day I realized that I was having trouble finding that sweet spot and when I would work on it the flow wasn’t there.  I found myself procrastinating because I was too tired or some other lame excuse.  I finally realized that I was getting so caught up in another project I am doing that I didn’t have the resources I needed to make the pendant.  As a side note…I recently realized that when I begin a new project I tend to lose myself in it by inadvertently giving up my identity and control to it.  It isn’t something I was aware of, I only knew that projects got really stressful and I couldn’t wait to finish them and get back to my normal routine.  Being aware of this fact, I wanted to make sure I held on to my identity and control as I began a big painting and a small renovation project in my craft room.  This is why I didn’t have my usual amount of mental and emotional resources…that and female hormones which I won’t go into detail about. 🙂  It can be draining trying to make sure your thoughts are going down the right path…especially when the path is a new one.

Anyway, it was Saturday before I finally found my groove.  My husband and I went to a local coffee shop and I was able to focus on and finish up my pendant there.

Here are some pictures of it…

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Complete View

 

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Complete View
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Right Side View
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Bottom View
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Side View

I am pleased with how it turned out overall.  I did notice that after I cleaned and oxidized the pendant two things changed.  The drilled hole in the focal bead cleaned out and my copper wire shows through.  I don’t think it is a huge deal, but I would prefer it to be hidden.  The other thing I noticed is the beads I used in the strand on the right side changed color.  They were originally a pale grayish purple color, but after oxidizing them they were more clear.  The good thing is their sparkly luster is still there.  It would have been very sad to have a strand of clear dull beads there.  I thought they were Swarovski crystal beads, but I was mistaken…oh well, lesson learned.

Here are a couple of picture of the small purple beads before and after oxidizing…

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Small Purple Beads Before Oxidizing
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Small Purple Beads After Oxidizing

I think next week I am going to try my hand at the Finish It tutorial for the contest Nicole Hanna is having on her webpage.  I haven’t entered a contest before with my jewelry and I am not sure I will enter my piece, but we shall see how it turns out. Well, I think that is it for this week, I hope you all have a blessed week!

 

 

Summer Jewelry Challenge Week #9…New Techniques and Fun

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…

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Oxidized Wave Cross Pendant
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Oxidized 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…

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Cabochon Pendant
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Cabochon Pendant
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Back View of Cabochon Pendant

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…

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Swirly Twirly Pendant
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Swirly Twirly Pendant
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Swirly Twirly Pendant

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…

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Swirly Bead Pendant
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Swirly Bead Pendant

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…

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5 Strand Braided Bracelet

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!

Summer Challenge Week #6…A More Simple Original

This is the halfway point of the challenge and the halfway point of summer.  Time escapes so quickly and my habits in the past have been to try and capture a moment so I will always have the memory of it.  However, I have become aware over the past year and a half that I am tired of trying to “capture” the perfect moment in order to recreate it in the future because it is causing me to miss all of the wonderful moments in the present…that place where life really happens.  When you have a picture in your head that you are trying to match it is so easy to dismiss all the things that don’t add up and I have thrown away a lot of good things in my search for perfection.

I have battled this same tendency in my jewelry.  I have certain people who I think make the most gorgeous wire jewelry and my mind transferred that to thinking if mine didn’t look like theirs then it wasn’t good.  That thought seems so ludicrous as I type it, but at the time it was a very real belief that I judged my own work by.  All I saw were the flaws and mistakes instead of the hard work and growth.  Obviously when I first began making wire jewelry I didn’t know how to fix or avoid many of the common mistakes that people in wire work make, but that didn’t stop me from beating myself up at what a failure I was and how I would never be good at making jewelry so I shouldn’t even try.  Well I am so thankful that I didn’t quit at those times and I certainly have grown past many of the more common mistakes, but I do still make mistakes in my pieces…I have just learned how to fix them or use them in my designs.  I have also realized that I was too harsh with myself and that beating myself up wasn’t helpful in any way, but instead hindered me in getting to where I wanted to go.  How do you talk to yourself?  I know my self-talk isn’t always kind, but I have grown much in this area.  My husband started asking me how I would talk to my dear friends if they were in that situation.  At first I scoffed at the idea, but as I began to practice thinking in that manner I began to see change.  With the Lord’s help I began to actively combat the harsh manner in which I related to myself and have had success in this area.  Part of this journey has also been discovering my value to be in Jesus and not tied up in my own successes or failures.   In discovering these things I have slowly been able to set aside my need for perfection and accept myself where I am at.  This doesn’t mean that I have stopped trying to improve or grow.  I have just become more like a coach trying to encourage and spur myself forward instead of a harsh task master that is never satisfied.

You may wonder what this has to do with my journey in jewelry making, but it has everything to do with where I am today.  I have found such freedom in these changes and in turn wanted to take risks and try new things…things that I wouldn’t try in the past because I knew there wasn’t “certain success”.  As a result I have challenged myself in new ways and explored new wire working concepts until I have reached the point where I am ready to try to make something without following instructions.  I have made several pieces now without having a tutorial to follow and it has been a fun experience.  I love to pick a bead, cut wire, and see where it all leads.  That is something I never thought I would do because I am a planner at heart.  I enjoy the fun and freedom that comes from simply weaving the wire and figuring out what will look nice with the focal bead.

This week I wanted to challenge myself in a new way.  I have started developing my own style and it involves a lot of different weaves and is complex.  I was wondering if I could make something in that style, but make it more simple.  I honestly didn’t know if I could but I wanted to try, so that is what I worked on this week.

Here are the pictures of the finished piece…

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Green Heart Pendant
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Green Heart Pendant
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Green Heart Pendant

I am pleased with how it turned out and how I was able to have a more simple piece and still have it fit my style.  Because the bead was smaller it didn’t take me as long to make this pendant as it has some of my other pieces.  It is so exciting to see where things have come to in my jewelry journey and I am curious to see where it will take me next.  I know for now I will be finishing up my Summer Challenge, but after that I am not sure.

Before I say goodbye for this week I wanted to share the earrings from last week that I oxidized.

Here are some pictures…

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Butterfly Pendulum Earrings
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Butterfly Pendulum Earrings

I hope that you will have a blessed week that is filled with many wonderful moments that you can live to the full.  I also hope that you will be kind to yourself in those moments when you fail and that you will not be afraid to try something unknown!  Well goodbye for now!

Summer Challenge Week #4…My Own Creation

A month has passed and with it one third of the Summer Jewelry Challenge.  Time certainly does go by quickly theses days and it is only getting faster.  That realization is part of what makes me determined to live each moment to the full and be present in the moment…even the hard ones I would normally rather escape from.  Time is a precious thing and so often in the past I would have a bad day and just think to myself that tomorrow will be better so it was okay to write the day off as a bad one.  Well, there are some genuinely bad days, but I want to learn from them and see if shifting my perspective might redeem the day or some part of it.  I read an article by Rachel Stafford not too long ago that had the idea of “looking for the flowers among the weeds”.  The “flowers” represent the good things or moments in each day.  So when I have a bad day full of “weeds” I try my best to look closer and gather a bouquet of “flowers” out of them.  It isn’t something that comes naturally to me, but I am retraining my mind and with the Lord’s help I am seeing improvement in my ability to find the good things (flowers).

Well onto what I created this week!  I have been talking about wanting to make another piece of my own without following a tutorial.  Confession time…I can talk about something that I want to do for a while sometimes and if I feel like I won’t succeed then I will continue to talk about it and never do anything about it.  Ideas are a safe thing in general…it is the action that is scary. 🙂

I am pleased to share that I did actually follow through on making my own piece without a tutorial.  It was a good experience for me.  I never know how things will turn out, but I picked a bead, cut the wire, and started weaving.  The bead I chose is a lampwork ocean bead made by Molly Cooley.  She makes the most beautiful beads and her night time ocean beads are my favorite.  I picked up several of them shortly after Christmas, but I have been afraid to wrap them because they are so lovely and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do them justice.  I have gained a lot of confidence in my wire wrapping so I took a chance and tried it.  I was not disappointed in the results either.

Here are pictures of the completed pendant…

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Ocean Heart Bead Pendant
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Ocean Heart Bead Pendant-Framed “Window” View
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Ocean Heart Bead Pendant-Side View
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Ocean Heart Bead Pendant-Bottom View
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Ocean Heart Bead Pendant-Top View

Didn’t it turn out lovely!  I am so surprised at how well it turned out without following a plan.  I was wondering if I ended up adding too much wire work and overshadowed the bead, but my husband said the effect of my wire weaving is like you are looking through a window and I liked that idea. 🙂

Some of the differences that I noticed in the process of making my own creations versus following a tutorial were interesting.

Following a tutorial…

~things stay neat and orderly

~materials and amounts of them are already figured out

~there is a clear plan and steps to follow

~not much thinking is require

~time it takes to finish a piece is considerably less

Creating my own…

~things are a mess and wire is everywhere, sometimes with several kumihimo bobbins with weaving wire sticking off multiple half finished wraps

~not sure of materials so I cut my base wires extra long and usually put about 30+feet of weaving wire on my kumihimo bobbin

~no plan and usually no idea where a project is heading

~lots of thinking is required and sometimes trial and error also

~lots of time involved because I like making pieces with lots of wire weaving

I am enjoying learning how to take all the things I have learned to create my own designs.  I have a long way to go and one day I might come up with something that is really unique, but for now I will just enjoy the journey I am on without feeling like I should be somewhere else.

Last week I didn’t have time to oxidize my necklace, but I did this week.  Here are some pictures of it oxidized…

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Oxidized Crawling Vine Pendant
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Oxidized Crawling Vine Pendant-Top View
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Oxidized Crawling Vine Pendant-Bottom View

That is all for this week.  I hope that you have a blessed week, but if it turns out to be a hard week I hope you can locate the flowers among the weeds!

 

Summer Jewelry Making Challenge

If you have been reading my blog you will notice that this year I have been doing a tidying up event using the Konmari method found in the book “The Magic Art of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.  Because of this there have been a lot less posts on the jewelry I made and since I am almost finished with the discarding part of my event I want to be more intentional about my jewelry making.  I find that I work best when I have a goal or a challenge to work towards, something that is concrete rather than the vague idea of something.  My case in point would be how I thrived the last half of the year in my jewelry making challenge that I set up for myself to grow in jewelry making and help it to become a habit.  I was successful in that challenge and then when I began my tidying even jewelry making became a vague goal…I want to continue making jewelry and share it on my blog.  While I have continued to make jewelry and share it, the frequency of this has been a frustration to me.  It isn’t that I could not have made more jewelry during this time.  It is that procrastination and fear have crept back into that part of my life in my mind.  I have started many projects over the past couple of months, but they are still in that half finished stage because they got “hard”.  It reminds me of a box of chocolates where everything looks good and you want them all, but after you take that first bite most of them lose their appeal and can become unpleasant…so you end up with a box of chocolates that is half eaten and useless.  I can finish all of these projects I have started so they aren’t useless, but they can lead to feelings of guilt, frustration, and failure if I let them.

Because of all these things, I have decided to do a Summer Jewelry Making Challenge.  It will look a lot like my original Jewelry Making Challenge from last year, but there will be a few differences.  Here is the basic layout…

~The challenge will start on Monday, May 30th and end on Sunday, September 4th.  (Memorial Day to Labor Day almost)

~I will choose a tutorial to work on on Monday and complete it throughout the week and then on Sunday I will post a blog article about my experience in making the piece to share.

~One of the differences about this challenge is that I hope to include a few pieces where I don’t use a tutorial but just pick a bead, cut some wire and see where it leads.  That is one thing that I have been doing this year and I have been pleased with the results so far.  Here are the examples of what I have made so far without tutorials…

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~This is probably the biggest difference with this challenge.  I want to invite others who make jewelry to join me in this challenge.  If you are interested I have created a Facebook group as a place where you can participate in the challenge and share your piece each week (or your favorite piece from each week for you amazing people that have super speedy jewelry skills).  Here is a link to the group… https://www.facebook.com/groups/495846887292459/

Well, I will say bye for now, but remember the challenge starts Monday.  I hope you all have a blessed week!