Tag Archives: #lampwork beads

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!

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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!

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!

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!