Tag Archives: #lampwork

Winter 2017 Jewelry Making Challenge Week #7…Brave Enough

Last week I began the daring adventure of wrapping a beautiful ocean lampwork bead made by Molly Cooley and this week I finished it up.  It has been a rewarding process overall and I am glad I took on the challenge.  I realize it may not seem like a big deal in the scope of life to wrap a bead, but it is more of what is going on inside me that is the big deal.  Being brave enough to take on fear of any kind is a big deal whether you are running into a burning building to save people or asking a friend for help.  It is easy to compare your seemingly minuscule feats to others larger than life heroics, but comparison is never a good idea.  We are all different with different sets of life experiences that turn us into the person we are.  We each have a different set of struggles that won’t look anything like the person next to us.  For me is it so easy to beat myself up over my struggles because I know of others that have harder things to deal with, but that is a wrong and hurtful attitude for me to have.  I constantly need to remind myself that my value isn’t dependent upon my successes or failures, but something outside myself entirely…the value God placed in me when He created me.  When I am able to remember this and operate out of that frame of mind I find myself much more willing to be brave and try new things.

In making jewelry I find many opportunities to be brave and try new things, but there is also the temptation to compare.  If I start looking at others work in comparison to mine I fall into a critical place either of other’s work or my own and that judgement has never led me to a good place.  Instead I have found that I excel when I focus on my own journey and progress without thinking abut how I measure up or fall short.  Now this doesn’t mean I don’t challenge myself to grow…if anything I fall on the side of trying to grow too much and not being content with the progress I make.  We all must challenge ourselves but comparisons don’t usually lead us to a place of growth…just hurt or pride depending upon where you fall in comparison.  Because of this I try to focus on my journey, run my race, and be brave where I can.

Last week when I decided I was ready to be brave and wrap my first ocean lampwork bead I had an idea in my mind, but I was unsure of how to bring it about.  I wanted to use woven wire to mimic the rolling flow of ocean waves to match the bead.  I am not good at drawing out ideas so I just make things and see how they turn out.  I wove a length of wire and swirled it to match what I thought I wanted, but the idea morphed until I had a frame for the bead.

Here is a picture of the frame I created to mimic the waves…

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This piece stretched my skills in constructing a pendant because the frame wasn’t attached anywhere and I wanted it to look like a natural part of the piece instead of an afterthought.  I did run into a couple of problems including some wires that snapped while I was trying to anchor the piece, but I was able to recover and create a beautiful piece.

Here are some picture of my finished piece…

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Portal Into the Night Necklace
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Portal Into the Night Necklace (Top View)
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Portal Into the Night Necklace (Left Side View)
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Portal Into the Night Necklace (Right Side View)
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Portal Into the Night Necklace (Bottom View)
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Portal Into the Night Necklace (Back View)

When I finished the piece I was worried that I might have covered the beautiful bead too much, but then I realized that it was exactly how I wanted it to be.  The overall effect is like a portal looking our into the ocean at night which I really like.  It reminds me of standing on the balcony at night looking out into the ocean through moonlight in Destin, Florida.  Remembering that creates such joy and rest in my mind and I am glad I was able to capture a piece of that in this necklace.  I don’t normally name my pieces but this one seemed to supply its own…Portal Into the Night.

It’s a bit of an odd thing for me when my creativity takes me places I wasn’t trying to go.  I like to plan and know where I am heading in general, but being creative with wire gives me a safe place to explore the unknown and delight in the journey as well as the destination.  I am grateful that I get to do something that I really enjoy and grow along the way.

It is about time to wrap up this post, but before I do I wanted to share some pictures of a couple of the necklaces that I oxidized and my husband photographed this week.

Here are the pictures…

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Oxidized Fern Weave Pendant with Labradorite (Week #3)

 

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Oxidized Fern Weave Pendant with Labradorite (Week #3)

 

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Oxidized Curious and Curled Pendant (Week #4)
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Oxidized Curious and Curled Pendant (Week #4)

I still have two more oxidized pendants from Week #4 to share and I plan to do that next week along with my final project for this challenge.  I hope that you have a great week and will be able to find some way to be brave in your journey this week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Life, Konmari Update, and Winter 2017 Jewelry Making Challenge Week #6…Worth the Time

In January 2016 I began a journey of going through my home using the Konmari Method by Marie Kondo.  In July 2016 I had completed the discarding part of the process…which is where I went through everything (yes everything) and figured out which items sparked joy for me then got rid of everything that didn’t.  The second part of the process is finding a home for all of the objects that bring me joy.  I would love to say that I was so motivated by finishing the process that I just zipped through that stage and was the perfect example for the Konmari method.  However if you have read my blog, you know that isn’t true.  The truth is I finished the discarding process out of pure discipline and perseverance.  As a reward for finishing this part of the process I decided to turn my craft room into a personal haven instead of a storage room for all of my crafts and other junk.  I began this project the last week of July.  I thought creating a special space and finding a home for everything in there first would really jump start the second phase of my Konmari journey with joy.

Well things were progressing okay until the final week of August when my sister passed away unexpectedly.  That pretty much blew everything up as far as goals and progress.  I was still in the midst of painting my room and I was so grateful to have something to keep me busy that didn’t require a lot of thought.  It took me a good three months before I had my room finished and everything had a home.  I found myself really struggling with trying to decide where stuff would go because I didn’t feel much joy at all and grieving makes decision making almost impossible.  I gave myself time and space to grieve and on the days I could figure some things out I would.  Most days though all I could do was remind myself of the truth…I hadn’t failed in my big goal I was just knocked down for a time.

It was hard when January 2017 rolled around and I realized it had been a year since I started the process.  However I kept reminding myself of the truth and continued working as I could.  In January I started taking pictures of items I plan to sell online.  The process was drawing out quite a bit and I thought it might be due to some grief, but I realized it was because I was bored.  It was nice to see that grief wasn’t keeping me from progressing, but a normal thing was.  After a week of this I decided it was time to set some goals and reasonable deadlines for my Konmari journey.  It was great to get things out on paper that I need to finish up.  When it came to setting the deadlines I was a little nervous, but I knew I needed an ending point in mind instead of “whenever I get it done”.  Today was my first deadline and after working really hard this week I was able to finish my project last night!  It was such a wonderful feeling to say the least.  I hope to continue meeting my deadlines and be finished with my Konmari journey as a whole by July 1, 2017.  We shall see what happens, but that is my goal.

Besides working hard at completing some Konmari tasks this week I have also been working on a new pendant.  I have spent most of my time this year working with tutorials and I have felt the desire growing in me to create one of my own pieces.  Also after last week I really wanted to be able to spend my time with some slow wire wrapping to remind myself that I do quality work.  So I decided to be really brave and wrap one of the ocean lampwork beads by Molly Cooley that I have been hoarding.  The particular bead I chose to wrap this week was the first bead I ever bought from her.  I realized that I have been hoarding…I mean admiring it for a little over a year.  When I first came across Molly’s beads I couldn’t believe that a bead could be so beautiful.  The night time ocean scenes are my absolute favorite.  Over the last year I have bought several of her beads.  I have gotten brave enough to to wrap two lovely tree beads and one ocean heart bead.  I haven’t been brave enough to wrap the round ocean beads until this week.

Here are some pictures of the beads I mentioned above that I have wrapped and helped me to gain confidence in my skills…

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When I began gathering my wire and other supplies for my pendant this week I would glance at the bead and get a little nervous and ask myself if I was really going to do this. Finally I came to the point of telling myself that if I wrapped the bead and wasn’t happy with the results then I could cut the bead out, toss the wire, and begin again.  That was a freeing thing to realize.  It is one of the things I appreciate about wire wrapping…second chances.

Last week when I was scrolling through my Pinterest feed, I came across a new weave that I really liked and wanted to try.  I decided to try it on this week’s piece.  It wasn’t too hard to do overall since the basic pattern is part of a weave I use in most of my pieces.  It did require me to pay attention to each wrap though because there was a new order.  It also was a little challenging because my six base wires were 60 cm long.  That is a lot of wire to keep straight, but  I had a lot of fun taking my time to create the large section of weave that began my piece.

Here is a picture of the new weave I learned…

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One of the neat things about wire weaving is how the pattern looks different on each side.  Sometimes it can look like a mess, but sometimes there is a new pattern waiting to be discovered.  In this case I found the back to be very pretty and I decided to incorporate the pattern of it in another part of my pendant.  It was a little more tricky to figure out than the first one, but I got it without too much drama.

Here is a picture of the weaving pattern I found on the back of the other new weave…

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Those two sections of weaving actually took up most of my time that I set aside for jewelry making this week.  This week my Konmari task took up most of my time in general and because my husband and I have set aside this weekend for some “us” time I didn’t finish my piece.  Normally I would be disappointed that I didn’t finish the piece, but I am not.  I am glad that I didn’t rush it just to finish.  I want my wire work to match the beauty of the ocean bead and that will take some planning and patience.  It will most definitely be a worth while endeavor.

Here is a picture of my overall progress so far…

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I have attempted to mimic some ocean waves with wire that I plan to implement into my pendant.  I look forward to sharing the finished piece with you next week.  I also hope that I will have time to photograph the oxidized pieces from the past several weeks.  We shall see how it all works out.  I hope that you have a blessed week!

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!

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 #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!