Tag Archives: #modified soumak weave

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…

leftstack
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…

img_2219
Complete View

 

img_2214
Complete View
beadsstack2
Right Side View
bottomstack
Bottom View
blackstack
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…

img_2305
Small Purple Beads Before Oxidizing
beadsstack1
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!

 

 

Advertisements

Summer Challenge Week #8…Challenges and Stress

The project I completed this week was the Wave Cross Pendant which is a tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  This tutorial has been on my “want to make” list for a while now, but there have been other things I have wanted to make more, so it usually got pushed back to the bottom of that list.  I think part of me that was a little nervous to make it because there are some mirroring techniques involved.  Mirroring is usually pretty frustrating for me, so I usually avoid it if I can just to save myself the stress.  However this week I wanted to tackle this piece and I dove right in.  I found the overall experience of creating this piece wasn’t too bad, but in the moments when I was making it there was plenty of stress and frustration to be had.  Nothing drags out the perfectionist in me like mirroring…so naturally she made an appearance this week.  The good news though is she didn’t stick around for too long.  I quickly realized that if I was going to make this tutorial and not drive myself crazy I would need to give myself grace and aim for doing my best rather than aiming for perfection.

In my six month Jewelry Making Challenge from last year I was so uptight in my creating process that I never strayed from the tutorial.  Honestly I thought I wouldn’t be doing the tutorial any justice if I did and quite frankly I didn’t know how to because I was so rigid in my thinking and in jewelry making in general.  After that challenge I found myself wanting to break free from the constrains of a tutorial and see what I could create with just wire and beads.  I spent the first part of the year exploring that.  I was pleased with my results.  I still created with tutorials, but branching out in this new way gave me freedom and permission to explore.  After a while I started adding my own small touches to the tutorial pieces I would make.  At first it felt a little awkward and I wasn’t completely sure that it was okay, but I continued on my journey anyway.  Now here I am over two thirds of the way through my Summer Jewelry Challenge and I don’t think a single tutorial has been completed without some alteration due to my personal preference.  That is a lot of growth in a short time.  I am so thankful and humbled by the confidence and freedom that I am finding in my jewelry making journey.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have challenging times where I need to walk away from a project, but they are few and far between.  I have also learned that though I struggle I don’t quit.  I keep struggling until I have a solution and can learn what I need to in order to accomplish my goal.

This week’s tutorial received some of those personal tweaks. 🙂  The biggest difference is I chose a different weave for the main body of my cross pendant.  I really like the full look of the Modified Soumak Weave (my favorite weave), so I decided to us it instead.

Here are some pictures of the finished result…

img_2097
Wave Cross Pendant
onboxstack
Wave Cross Pendant
img_2125
Wave Cross Pendant-Top View
img_2126
Wave Cross Pendant-Bottom View

I like how it turned out.  There are a few other minor things I changed, but the most noticeable is the jump ring.  I had a small closed jump ring around the top coiled wire like the tutorial called for, but when I was looking at it after I was done I really didn’t like the way it hung.  I decided to see how it would look with a larger jump ring.  It fit my preferences more and so I went with it.

Here is a close up of the top part to show you where I am talking about…

topstack
Wave Cross Pendant-Jump Ring View

I mentioned earlier that as a whole this pendant wasn’t too bad to make, but there were lots of little stresses throughout the process.  One of these stresses was the fact that there weren’t many places to anchor and tuck wire ends.  It is a dainty piece that is pretty, but unforgiving in finishing.  I ended up with so many tool marks on the back of it because I was trying to anchor and tuck the ends without distorting the shape of the cross.  I had to get creative in order to finish it, but I was able to rise to the challenge.

Here is a picture of the back with tool marks…

img_2121
Wave Cross Pendant-Back View

There were moments of challenge and stress, but it was definitely worth it to push through to the finish line!  Well that is it for this project.  I hope you all have a great week and can push through the hard things to breakthrough into the beautiful!

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…

img_6685
Ocean Heart Bead Pendant
img_6696
Ocean Heart Bead Pendant-Framed “Window” View
img_6605
Ocean Heart Bead Pendant-Side View
img_6608
Ocean Heart Bead Pendant-Bottom View
img_6603
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…

img_6724
Oxidized Crawling Vine Pendant
img_6683
Oxidized Crawling Vine Pendant-Top View
img_6681
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…

2016_01_24_combined003

013_combined

focusstack004

focusstack003

img_4230

~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!

Tidying Update, Experimenting, and Some Redos

Today marks the three month point since I began my Tidying Up (Decluttering) Event.  I have been diligent in working on this process and with the exception of a two week period where I split my focus with another goal this event has been my main focus.  In Marie Kondo’s book The Magic Art of Tidying Up, she shares that this process usually takes 6 months to complete from start to finish which includes the discarding phase (figuring out what sparks joy) and the organizing phase (finding a home for what sparks joy).  Well in my mind if there are two processes and six months that means three months per process…well it wasn’t really a goal but that is how my mind broke it down, and then it became a goal…because my mind loves to set impossible limits so I cannot succeed and then compare myself to others who do seem to meet the goal and then I wonder what is wrong with me.  Sigh, yes therapy may be needed, but so far I have been able to work through those kinks with the help of my wonderfully logical husband!

Earlier this week I found myself struggling with the mental dilemma mentioned above (impossibly high standards, comparison to others, and condemning myself if I don’t meet those ridiculous standards) and it was really slowing down my productivity rate.  I have learned that I cannot identify what sparks joy if I am upset or overly emotional and when I feel like a failure I can get overly emotional.  The good thing is that I quickly identified what was happening and I realized I needed to sort out some things in my mind and my logical husband makes a great sounding board!  He was sweet and took some time to listen before he had to leave and it was exactly what I needed.  His logic reminded me of the truth that the book was written by someone from a different culture and that Japanese people aren’t usually the hoarders that American’s tend to be…so I probably have a whole lot more stuff in general than the people in the book that finished up in six months.  He also pointed out that it really didn’t matter how long it took other people…this is my tidying event and I will finish when I finish…I am not just going to stop in the middle because I didn’t meet some time limit.  It was so nice to be reminded of these points and it helped me focus on what really matters.  It can be so easy as I go along living my life to look beside me and see how others are doing around me and then compare my own progress to theirs.  However, that is a really bad thing to do.  God didn’t give me anyone else’s life to live but my own and we all have circumstances and events that cause us to slow down, speed up, and stumble at different points in our journey that others don’t always see so it is never fair to ourselves or others to compare, but amazingly enough it is the most natural thing to do.

Once I reframed my perspective and focused on my own journey I found this week to be one of my most productive so far.  I am working on 15 out of 22 subcategories in my main category of ” Komono or Miscellaneous”.  After I finish this category there is only one more…Mementos or Sentimental Items…which I think will be the most difficult one but I know when the time comes I will have what I need to complete it, until then I will focus on the category where I am instead of worrying about what is to come.

I think that is enough of an update on my Tidying Event, now for the really fun stuff…jewelry!

One thing I have been up to is doing some minor readjustments to a piece I shared in my last blog post.  When I looked at the piece I realized there were a couple of things that I wasn’t happy with as far as the quality in my wire work and that the bead I used was flaking after oxidizing the piece.  I was uncertain what to do at first and wasn’t comfortable with selling the piece as it was.  After a few days away from it and someone expressing interest in purchasing the piece I decided I needed to fix it.  This was the first time I had done anything to a piece after it was finished.  I found I was able to change the bead out without too many issues and I was also able to fix the wire work issues.

Here are some pictures to show the change…

img_4131
Original Hearts in Asymmetry Necklace
img_4149
New Hearts in Asymmetry Necklace

This experience has made me seriously look at the jewelry supplies I have and use.  I have only recently started to purchase and use higher end supplies so most of what I have is okay for stringing beads, but doesn’t work well when I oxidize it.  Last week my jewelry making stuff came up in my decluttering process and it was nice to keep only those things that spark joy…needless to say beads that are going to peel didn’t make the cut. 🙂

One day a couple of weeks ago I took some time to play around with some chain links that I had been wanting to try.  It was fun to take my wire to my favorite coffee shop and figure out some new chain links using a book I had picked up a while ago.  The book is called Handcraft Wire Jewelry: Chains, Clasps, Pendants by Kimberly Sciaraffa Berlin.

Here are some of the links that I created…

img_4176
Elegant Cotter Pin Chain Link

The Elegant Cotter Pin Chain Link was pretty straight forward.  I didn’t really care for it as a chain in general, but I think that it would work for a special kind of necklace, especially if the pendant is plain.

img_4175
Coiled Half Round Wire Chain Link

The Coiled Half Round Wire Chain Link was the one I was most excited to try.  I ordered a spool of 12 gauge half round wire especially for this tutorial.  I like the playful look of the links.  I hadn’t worked with 12 gauge wire before, but I knew it would be stiff.  I expected the half round to be a little more forgiving, but it really wasn’t.  I was able to make the links eventually, but it took a lot of muscle and tool leverage to get what is pictured above…they have the tool marks to prove it too!  I don’t know if I will make these again because I hate tool marks on my finished pieces and there are too many to file them.  I need to figure out something else for this project to work, but I am glad I tried something new.

img_4169
Double Loop Crossover Chain Link in varying sizes

I found the Double Loop Crossover Chain Link to be very nice and would work well for most pendants.  I played around with the mandrel size I used and created a variety of different size links.  The smallest one is my favorite.

The other things I have been working on is some remakes of projects that I made a couple of years ago.  When I first started making wire woven jewelry I used silver plated wire and color coated copper wire.  The wire was fine when I first started out, but as my skills improved I found the wire wasn’t giving me the results I wanted.  The silver plated wire I was using began changing from bright silver to a tarnished yellowish color and the color coated copper wire was so easily marked up that it didn’t matter how careful I was it got scratched up.  For about a year and a half I didn’t really know what to do about it and the amount of jewelry I made decreased drastically.  The poor quality of wire was only one of the reasons this happened, but it needed fixed.  Last year when I did my jewelry making challenge I decided that I wanted to upgrade my wire.  I started using bare copper wire and it has been a wonderful improvement over the other wires I was using.  There were a couple of pieces that I wanted to remake with the bare copper wire.

Once of the pendants I wanted to remake was the Charming Hearts Pendant, which I made using a tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  It was fun to make the first time and I found that to be true this time around as well.  I had some extra wire that I used to embellish my new one a little more.

Here is a picture of the new one…

img_4153
Charming Hearts Pendant (made in bare copper and oxidized)

Isn’t it cute! 🙂  I am happy with the results of the wire wrapping, but I did learn a lesson about the bead I used.  I had hoped the bead would “pop” more color wise, but instead it does a nice job of blending in.  This will be something I will need to pay more attention to in the future.

Now for the comparison picture…

img_4161
Comparison of Charming Hearts Pendants

The one on the left is one I made couple of years ago using Vintaj Parawire and the one on the right is the new one using bare copper that was oxidized.  I find I have a personal preference for the warm oxidized copper look.  I am also happy to see a little improvement in my wire wrapping skills and a whole lot of improvement in my improvisation with wire.

The other piece that I remade was the Dew Drop Pendant which I also made using a tutorial by Nicole Hanna.

Here are the pictures of the new one and the comparison picture…

img_4151
Dew Drop Pendant (made with bare copper and oxidized)
img_4158
Comparison of Dew Drop Pendants

It was a great experience for me to redo this pendant.  When I made the one on the left a couple of years ago it was a very big deal.  It was the most complex thing I had done to that point and it took me a while to work up enough nerve to try it and then it took me a while to make it.  I was so proud of it when I finished it.  When I look at it now I can see several things I don’t really like about how I made it, but I my skills have improved a lot since then.  I am excited to see the new one I made a few weeks ago (on the right).  There is a marked improvement between the two and I also added a wire to help it look a little better.  Quite rewarding to say the least.  I am thankful to see how my skills have grown through this remake, but also in the fact that while this was my most complex piece a couple of years ago (following a tutorial) now my most complex piece is my own creation (without a tutorial) that I shared in my last blog post.

Here are a couple of pictures for those that may not remember…

focusstack004

focusstack003

 

 

Progress is so exciting!  Again, I am so thankful for improvement and knowledge I have gained over the last couple of years.  We all grow in different ways and it is so rewarding to see it.  I guess the trick is to keep going and keep learning.

Before I wrap things up (lol, pun intended) a new technique I tried is the coiled coil technique.  There are many tutorials out there that will help you learn this technique, but the one I found the most helpful was made by Oxana Howes from OxanaCrafts.  The technique looks a lot harder than it actually is.

Here are a couple of pictures of a piece in progress using this technique…

img_4178
Front view of coiled coil technique
img_4179
Back view of coiled coil technique

Well that is all I have for this time around!  I hope you have a blessed week and are able to live your journey out well!

 

 

Tidying Event Update and Several Firsts

This week I have been going through my large amount of stamping/scrapbooking stuff.  Really, I should say gargantuan amount of stuff because once I gathered all of it into one area that is what I ended up with.  I asked my husband how all of that fit into my craft room and he said I am just good at making a lot of stuff look neat in small spaces and you can’t see how much is there.  At this point I am not sure whether that is a gift or a curse, however it is being remedied by this tidying event so no worries there. 😏  Anyway there has been much to process this week…stuff and emotions attached to the stuff.  It has been eyeopening in many good ways as well as a few challenges, but with the Lord’s help I am conquering the piles of stuff and emotions.

Once I finish this category I will be half way through my Komono main category which is really exciting!  I look forward to being finished with the discarding process and then moving onto the organizing phase which is where my house will begin to take shape once again and that is a happy thought indeed!

Well, now that I have updated you on the tidying even, now it  is time for the real fun…recent jewelry projects!  I have five pieces of jewelry to share that I have made over the last several weeks and there are several firsts that have taken place for me in the process of creating theses pieces.

The first one I have to share is a necklace that I made following the Hearts in Asymmetry Pendant tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  This piece was pretty straight forward and fun to make.  I really like the way the hammered larger gauge wire looks with the weaves and it inspires me to try my own version of that in the future.  I am really pleased with how this piece turned out, but I didn’t have any new experiences in creating this piece like I did with the other pieces, so I thought I would share it first.

Here is a picture of it…

img_4131
Hearts in Asymmetry Pendant
img_4123
Hearts in Asymmetry Pendant

 

The second piece I have to share is a bracelet that I made following a tutorial by Margie Mugavero (MaxxBelle Creations) called Twisted Braid Copper Bracelet.  This was the first tutorial I did by this artist.  I found the tutorial to be pretty straight forward and it was broken down into helpful sections.  This was my first experience in working with eleven base wires at one time.  I found it to be quite a challenge to manage at first, but eventually I got the hang of it.  I did find that working with so many base wires at one time really slowed down how quickly I could weave, and the process got a little boring after a while.  I actually stopped working on this for a while and created the heart necklace that I have already shared and another necklace that I will be sharing next.  I found it to be helpful to break up this project and work on something else for a while.  I think that is something that is common in the creative process with most people, but it isn’t something that I like to do in general because in the past I haven’t finished projects that I did that with.  I don’t think that will be the case with jewelry in general, but if it is, then I probably really didn’t want to do the unfinished piece in the first place.  I am coming to the conclusion that my creative time is too valuable to be working on things I don’t enjoy…unless someone is paying me a bunch of money for a custom piece, and even then it won’t be too often.  In the future if I make this bracelet again, I will use some techniques and tips that I learned from my Wire Weaving Bracelets: Basics and Beyond class by Sarah Thompson at craftsy.com and I think the bracelet will go a lot quicker and smoother.

Here are some pictures of the bracelet…

img_4052
Twisted Braided Copper Bracelet
img_4048
Twisted Braided Copper Bracelet
stack002
Close Up of Twisted Braided Copper Bracelet
contentawarefill001
Clasp of Twisted Braided Bracelet

 

The third piece I have to share is a necklace made following the Faery’s Tear Pendant tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  I have to say this is my favorite tutorial that I have done.  I have made three of these so far and I wear the first one most every day.  The first two I made using copper wire, but this one I made using fine silver wire.  It was my first time working with fine silver or any precious metal, so I wanted to use a tutorial that I was comfortable with.  It wasn’t as intimidating to work with the silver as I thought it would be…probably because I had a tutorial to follow.  I am sure when I try to make a piece on my own I will need more courage to conquer the fear of messing it up. 🙂  In working with the fine silver wire, I found it to be quite soft which made it interesting with weaving.  I tend to pull things pretty snug when working with my copper wire and I jerked too hard a few times with the silver until I found a good tension to work with.  I picked dark colored beads to work with because of the brightness of the silver wire, and I was very happy with the results.  I had planned all along to oxidize this piece and I was unprepared for how the fine silver would oxidize.  First it took so much longer than my copper wire pieces to oxidize, then when it did fully oxidize it looked like this…

img_4138
Back of fine silver Faery’s Tear Pendant after it was oxidized but before it was polished

Isn’t that crazy!  The colors look so pretty.  I have seen other people post pictures of things similar to this, but I thought they might be editing in the color effects.  This shows me they were not adding color effect…that is just what fine silver does.  It may be the same with argentium silver and sterling silver too, but I haven’t worked with those yet.  I want to make a piece with the intention of not polishing away the darkness and colors of the wire, but I will need to choose lighter beads to do that.

Here are some pictures after it has been polished to bring out the highlights…

img_4137
Faery’s Tear Pendant made in fine silver
img_4111
Faery’s Tear Pendant made in fine silver

I am glad that polishing helped my darker beads show up better.  I was a little concerned for a while, but it turned out just fine and I have more experience now that will help me chose beads to match the wire better in the future.  I really like the way the colors still show through after I polished it in certain areas.  It gives the piece a more rich feel and the blue in the wire brings out the blue crystal bead in the center.

Something I found interesting in making another Faery’s Tear Pendant is how different it turned out from my first piece.

Here is a picture of both pieces together…

img_4136
Faery’s Tear Pendants (copper wire on left, fine silver on right)

I think they are both lovely pieces, but the bails are different and that changes the shape of the whole piece.  My copper pendant is more flared out and the silver one is more narrow.  I just think it is neat how following the same set of instructions can turn out differently.  It just proves that each piece is a one of a kind creation because it is a made by a person and not a machine.

The fourth piece I have to share is a necklace I made following the Delicate Hearts Pendant tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  I was looking forward to using this tutorial with some other heart shaped lampwork beads I bought last year, but I couldn’t use them because the hole ended up being horizontal instead of vertical. So the heart shaped lampwork bead I used was made by Jacqueline Parks and it had the needed vertical hole in it.  I actually started on this piece the day I received the bead because it was so pretty and I just couldn’t wait.  I thought the tutorial would be a quick one for me, but those turned out to be famous last words.  It ended up taking me three evenings to work through it and get it to the point to where I was pleased with my wire work.  I did stress out over how long it was taking me, but I told myself to relax and enjoy the process…not an easy thing when I had the expectation that I could make it pretty fast.

Here are pictures of the completed necklace…

img_4129
Delicate Hearts Pendant
img_4126
Delicate Hearts Pendant

This is the first piece that I have made that I am not really happy with as a finished product.  I really like the bead and I think the wire work looks pretty, they just don’t go well together in my opinion.  I think at some point I will redo this piece (unless someone really likes it as is and purchases it), but for now I am leaving it because there are many more projects in my mind to create in the near future.

The fifth and final project I have to share is by far my favorite.  It is a piece that I created without following any tutorials and just waited to see where the wire would take me.  When I cut my wire and began weaving I was actually working with an entirely different bead.  I became frustrated that is wasn’t working out and then I realized that it would work perfectly with one of my lampwork beads made by Molly Cooley.  I switched gears and over a three week period the piece was born.

I won’t make you wait to see it because I am too excited to share it, so here are some pictures of my finished necklace which I am calling “Flourishing in Spring”…

focusstack004
Front View of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace
focusstack003
Side View of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace
img_3522
Top View of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace
img_3513
Left Side of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace
img_3517
Right Side of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace

 

img_3521
Bottom of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace

Didn’t it turn out lovely!  I honestly didn’t know I had it in me to do that, especially without a tutorial to follow.

There are a few firsts that I experienced in creating this piece.  The biggest first would probably be the bead I was working with.  It is the most expensive thing I have wrapped and I was nervous about that fact because I wanted my wire work to do the exquisite bead justice, but at the same time not overwhelm it.

The most complicated first I experienced with this pendant was running out of base wires and needing to add more to it to create the results I wanted.  I wasn’t sure how to do it at first, but then I realized the bead itself was the answer because the lampwork bead is very sturdy and had a pretty good size hole through the middle which proved to be very accommodating for adding in two extra base wires.

The final first I experienced in creating this piece would be the need to brace the lampwork bead so it didn’t spin.  I was trying to figure out how to do it, and I finally ended up adding a thick weave along the back and anchoring it to the front.  It was a bit challenging to weave in tight spaces during this process, but it was a good challenge.

Here is  a picture of the back of the bead to show you what I mean…

focusstack002
Back of “Flourishing in Spring” Necklace

I am very pleased with how this piece turned out and even more thrilled that I am starting to develop my own style in wire wrapping.  One thing about this pendant that I found interesting is how the wire weaving ended up matching the bead.  The left side is simple and the right side is full and bursting with weaves and texture.  The lampwork bead has the tree trunk on the left and the right side is bursting with leaves.  I can honestly say I didn’t plan it that way, but I was so excited that it matched the flow in that way.

I look forward to creating more pieces without tutorials in order to see where my creativity will flow and creating some more pieces with tutorials so I continue to learn.

Whew, this is a long post!  I think I may need to share a little more often and not let it build up, but we shall see how time allows.  For now though I must get back to tidying up, wire wrapping, and everyday life.  I hope you have a blessed week and thanks for reading!

 

 

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…

2016_01_24_combined005

2016_01_24_combined003

012_combined

011_combined

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…

013_combined

2016_01_24_combined006

008_combined

010_combined

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…

009_combined
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!

Week Twenty-Six…The Grand Finale

I cannot believe I am just wrapping up the final week of my six month challenge!  There were a couple of weeks that made this challenge feel like it might last forever, but overall it has gone so quickly!

When I chose the project for my “finale” I wanted it to be the most complicated piece I have done yet and it really was.  I completed the Freeform Wire Bracelet, which is the final project from Sarah Thompson’s class “Wire Weaving Bracelets-Basics and Beyond” (found at craftsy.com).  This bracelet took all of the skills I learned from the beginning of the video series and combined them into one.  I knew this project would take me a while to complete and I was a little concerned about the time especially with all of the Christmas stuff going on this week, so I did a lot of my basic weaving last week.  I think doing that helped me to finish this week.

Here is a picture of what I finished last week and gave as a teaser picture of this weeks project…

img_2597
Beginning of Freeform Wire Bracelet

When I continued the bracelet this week I was surprised that there was a little mental hesitation to move forward in each new step.  Despite the hesitation, I was able to move forward without too much problem because finishing the project this week was the only option in my mind this week.  I didn’t expect to be completely cured of the doubt in my ability to accomplish things, but this struggle seemed out of place at the finish line.  I am thankful that the Lord helped me to press forward whenever I wondered if I could complete it.

Something I found challenging as I was weaving this project is the length of the 3 base wire component that is shown at the top of the previous picture.  I wanted to make sure I had enough wire, so I cut it a little longer than the tutorial said.  That is something that I always do when I am following any tutorial because I can always trim the extra, but it is a pain to add more.  In this case, I added way too much and it made it difficult to wrap around the really long wires and it tired my arm out quicker, so a tip is to cut the wire a little longer, but not too long…unless you are aiming for a good arm workout. 🙂

Here are some pictures of the completed bracelet…

2015-12-27-19-04-27-bradius8smoothing4
Freeform Wire Bracelet (front view)
2015-12-27-18-54-15-bradius8smoothing4
Freeform Wire Bracelet (side view)
2015-12-27-18-51-34-bradius8smoothing4
Freeform Wire Bracelet (side view)
2015-12-27-19-11-59-bradius8smoothing4
Freeform Wire Bracelet (clasp view)

Overall I really enjoyed making this bracelet because of all I learned in the process and the challenges I conquered to get to the the finish line.

One thing that was exciting to me was while watching the video to see how things were done in general my mind was opened to new concepts of the construction of jewelry making that I will be able to apply to my own designs in the future.  That is where I hope to go with all of my knowledge that I have gained over the past six months is to find my own style and see what I can create there.  I won’t lie and say that is a fun and exciting prospect…honestly it can leave me quaking in my boots if I think about it too much, but it is the place where I want to go in the future and I think this project gave me the first taste of it by being a “freeform” design.  The finished product that I created isn’t the same as the one Sarah Thompson did in the video tutorial.  I actually had to take my wire components and then form them.  At first I was not enjoying it and my mind was crying out for someone to tell me what to do with all these components, but I just started  and the more I got into it I started having fun and I started seeing the beauty in it.  It was a challenge to make my components work together and come into the harmonious completed piece, but I did it.  There were a couple of things I did that made it harder on myself such as ending wires too soon, but I was able to problem-solve and figure things out pretty quickly and without any drama. That is a sign of growth because in the early parts of this challenge most any snag in a project shut me down for a while and made me wonder if I had bitten off more than I could chew.  I am so thankful for the Lord’s help and growth!

I also oxidized pendants from the last two weeks so that all of my Jewelry Making Challenge projects are completely finished.  Here are those pictures…

img_2672
Oxidized Earth Mother Pendant
2015-12-27-20-46-13-bradius8smoothing4
Oxidized Be Mine Pendant

Well it is time to wrap things up for my Jewelry Making Challenge.  When I started this challenge I wanted to strengthen my perseverance, use some the tutorials I have been hoarding because they are “too hard”, and to make jewelry making a regular part of my life.  I have accomplished all of those things in this challenge and so much more.  As I look back I realize this experience has been like going to jewelry making college.  I have learned so much and accomplished so much over the last six months.

Here are some of the things I have learned or been reminded of (not in any particular order)…

~Setting goals and having a vision will help you get to where you want to go.

~I can make beautiful things with wire and beads…even when it feels like I can’t.

~I can embrace a challenge and push through it instead of it stopping me in my tracks.

~Keep things focused and simplified to succeed.

~The Lord has given me many gifts and He will help me use them.

~I need to be patient with the wire…and myself.

~I don’t need to have guaranteed success for me to step out and try something because I can take risks.

~A temporary setback is not a permanent failure.  It is only a permanent failure if I never try to begin with.

~Safety isn’t always comfortable.

~Taking the first step is the hardest part of accomplishing something.

~I found the confidence to open an Etsy store and start selling my jewelry.

I am sure there are many more things that this challenge has taught me and I will continue to reap the benefits and blessings of persevering through the good and the bad.  The question is where do I plan to go from here.

I plan to take some time off from wire working and blogging on a specific schedule like this challenge has required for starters.  I want to play around with wire and beads without tutorials and see what I can do.  I will still do tutorials because there were many amazing projects I couldn’t fit into this challenge and I want to continue expanding my knowledge of jewelry making, but for a while I want to see if I can’t find my own style of wire wrapping.  It is a scary prospect, but I will stick with it and see what happens. 🙂

I also plan to still blog about what I am learning as I go, so there will be new posts about my exploits in wire wrapping and jewelry.  I will also probably blog about some things other than jewelry that I am up to since this blog is about the journey of living life and jewelry making is a small part of my life.