Tag Archives: #tidying up

Summer Jewelry Challenge Week #11…Plans Change

Last week I mentioned I thought about entering the “Finish It” contest which is being hosted by Nicole Hanna.  Well, I planned to make that my project for this week and I was ready for the challenge.  I wasn’t sure if I would actually enter the contest or just make the piece.  However, I wanted to create with entering the piece in my mind.  It was Tuesday before I was ready to start on the project and the first thing I did was sit down and look at all of the rules of the contest and the tutorial I would be using.  I didn’t want to be disqualified because I didn’t know the parameters I was to work within.  I ran into a snag because one of the requirements was that I can only use what the tutorial lists as my materials with only one exception.  I needed some clarification on what “one exception” meant, but I realized that if I wanted to complete this project I would need to purchase a couple of new beads to complete it.

It used to be that I would jump at the chance to purchase something new in general, but that isn’t the case anymore.  After I spent the first six months of this year going through everything that I owned and discarding everything that didn’t spark joy (Konmari method), I don’t really like buying things just to buy them anymore.  I also have a boatload of beads that spark joy and I want to try using most of them up before buying more…so I can cut the bead hoarding habit.  I have learned that buying things or holding onto things out of fear that I won’t have them doesn’t spark joy in me.  At one time buying things and having a lot of stuff felt like a safety net, but it became a burden that I felt guilty for.  All of this to say, that buying any extra beads this week didn’t spark joy so I decided to not do the contest and create something that would spark joy and use up stuff I already had.

I decided that I wanted a bit of a challenge so I chose a ring tutorial.  Rings are something I don’t normally make because I can’t get the sizing right and the construction is more complicated in general…at least in my mind.  I followed the Victorian Ring Tutorial by Nicole Hanna to complete my piece.

Honestly I didn’t know what to expect.  It didn’t look like a hard tutorial, but I know how to complicate simple really well. 🙂  I actually had fun in creating this ring and found myself really relaxed while creating it in general.  That may sound like something odd to say, but I am usually pretty intense and sometimes stressed when I am making jewelry.  I think it is just another sign of becoming more comfortable with creating and learning to not be afraid of messing up.  My mind is also really focused on remodeling my craft room, so I didn’t have as much focus to spare for creating jewelry this week…I just needed to make it, not stress over it. 🙂

Here are some pictures of the finished ring…

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Victorian Ring
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Victorian Ring-Right Side View
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Victorian Ring-Left Side View
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Victorian Ring-Close Up View
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Victorian Ring-Next to a quarter for size comparison

This was a fun ring to make and I am pleased with how it turned out.  The main thing I was uncertain of was the use of a 8mm undrilled cabochon (something tiny and without a hole to secure it).  I didn’t have any problems with it at all and that was very encouraging, especially after my first experience with an undrilled cabochon made me unsure I wanted to try to use another one.  I will probably make more of these rings in the future.

Some things I realized in creating this ring…

~Rings aren’t as scary to make as I thought.

~I would like to continue growing in my skills of using undrilled cabochons.

~While thinking about things is good, there is a point of overthinking that creates unnecessary stress.

~I am getting faster in making jewelry.

~Choice is a powerful thing.

~Knowing what sparks joy in myself makes life a lot less complicated.

Well, I will say good bye for now.  I am not sure what my next piece of jewelry will be but I do know it will most likely be challenging and hopefully fun.  I look forward to priming the walls of my craft room this week!  And I hope that whatever you do it goes well for you!

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Summer Challenge Week #7…A Great Week of Finishes and a First

In the past month I have sold four pieces of my jewelry.  It was something that was unexpected, but I am so thankful and humbled by it.  The reason it was a surprise is because I haven’t been actively seeking customers through marketing.  I have an Etsy store where I have listed some of my early pieces, but I have close to 20 pieces that I have finished but haven’t listed.  My focus has been on other areas in my life in order to complete some short term projects and that hasn’t left me with the time to invest in my jewelry business yet.  The biggest project I have been working on was finished this week and I am super excited about it.  I have spent the last 6+ months going through literally everything I own and determining if it sparks joy for me or not.  I have gotten rid of everything that didn’t spark joy.  This is the konmari tidying event that I have mentioned in a few previous posts.  Now all I need to do is find a home for the things I have decided to keep…this will be the fun part in my opinion.  I am really looking forward to taking inventory this week and coming up with a plan to get everything where I want it.  I like plans and lists in general in case you haven’t noticed. 🙂  Something else I have finished this week is my six week 0 to 5k walking plan.  I actually walked almost 4 miles which is more than a 5k. It was a great feeling of accomplishment.  I have been unable to do much exercise due to other health issues, so the fact that my body was able to do this is a big deal and I am so thankful for it!

Well that raps up my “finishes”, now it is time for the “first” that I mentioned in my title.  One of the pieces of jewelry that I sold was a custom order and it was my first time to make a custom order.  Custom orders have always seemed like a big deal to me because I know how hard I can be to please and how much I would want to please others in what I make for them.  It just seemed like way too much stress to try and work out, but I have to say that wasn’t my experience in this case.  I had a previously made piece that my customer liked and I was able to create a customized piece based on it.  That really helped things go well because I had a general idea of where I was going and all I had to do was customize it.

I ended up using the basics from the Sunset Cloud Pendant tutorial from Nicole Hanna and added the colors that my customer wanted.  I also needed to adjust the tutorial for three beads instead of four.  In my first piece I used 6 mm beads and they blended in well with the wire work, but this time I wanted to use 8 mm beads to make them more prominent because I was making a “family” necklace, which is like a mother’s ring but this was for a child to remember the parents by using their birthstone colors instead of a mother remembering her children by their birthstones.  I also needed to alter the wire weaving because I was eliminating one bead and I needed to make sure I would still end up with a circle like piece that flowed well and had good spacing.

Here is a picture of the necklace that I made following the Sunset Clouds Pendant Tutorial several weeks ago…

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Sunset Clouds Pendant Tutorial

Here are some pictures of the one I customized this week…

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Customized Family Pendant
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Customized Family Pendant
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Close Up of the Customized Family Pendant

I am so pleased with how it turned out and that my alterations were successful in the end.  I hope my customer will be pleased with the results as well.  It was a fun piece to make and I liked the challenge of altering the tutorial for a different number of beads because it showed me that I have gained good knowledge on the construction techniques in wire work in general.  It is so great to see the growth in my journey because I can remember a time when I would have been too overwhelmed to even try because the though of altering a tutorial would have been too much.  I thank the Lord that my fear of the unknown and trying new things is shrinking and I am taking on new challenges.

Well, that is all for this week.  I hope that you have a great week that is full of love encouragement, adventure, and growth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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…

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Original Hearts in Asymmetry Necklace
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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…

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Dew Drop Pendant (made with bare copper and oxidized)
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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…

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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…

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Front view of coiled coil technique
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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!