Getting Some New Jewelry Supplies Woo!

I decided to buy a few jewelry supplies lately, because I’ve been in the mood to make something.  I’ve been itching to try out this supplier from India for gemstones, but making a huge purchase from them initially make me uneasy, so I just did a small purchase to see how it’ll go.  I’m really hoping it pans out, because there are great prices on the site, and the stones are amazing!  Really good sizes for a lot cheaper than you’d buy in the states.  I mean, I know it’ll pan out, but I’m just one of those better safe than sorry people.  What I got was a big ocean jasper, a nice piece of onyx and a honey tourmaline which I’ve seen all as pretty expensive.  But on this store, it’s 2 dollars each!  Such a steal.  What I initially wanted to get was only 40 dollars for sooo many, so I’m super excited to see how using the will work.

 

I have a specific idea for both the ocean jasper, and the onyx.  I have some dagger, shield, and helmet charms I thought would work well with the onyx, and I have mermaid charms I may try and implement  with the ocean jasper.  For the tourmaline, I think I may try a rainbow braid around the cab.  I really need to work on wrapping some cabs probably though, I haven’t done so in sucha  long time.

 

 

I’ve really been into making more delicate looking pendants too, and I thought, I really wanted some chain to add to the dangly, delicate style I really enjoy making.  I’ve never bought bulk chain however, because of how expensive it is: but I figured, why not search on Etzy for a supplier, see what pops up.  I wasn’t expecting anything, but I found a bulk supplier that had 32 feet of cable chain for 8 dollars!  That’s such a great deal!  The supplier had some other great deals, like lobster claw clasps (I really needed some) so I picked up enough to last me a long while.  I’m definitely going to use them again, because all the deals are awesome, and they’re a US company which I love to support.

 

 

So yeah, excited to get my supplies!  I have been wanting to make something for a while, and excited to get some new supplies I haven’t used before.  The chain is the thing I’m most excited for probably, like I said I’ve never been able to find a good price I’d been willing to pay for it before and I’m so stoked to be able to use it in designs!  I really need to start taking pictures of my work again, I feel like my style has evolved a lot since the last piece of jewelry I’ve posted:  I actually do stuff with the cabs I wrap, implementing  said cab into designs instead of just wrapping the cab and being done haha.  I got less rigid with just using wire and gemstones and  use cord, charms and other things I wouldn’t normally use when I first started so long ago.  So long story short, I need to  take more pictures of my jewelry lol.

Wooooooo

I’ve been getting back into jewelry making lately, mainly because:  I got all of the jewelry stuff that was at my PO Box!  Funny thing happened though.  The package I thought was lost, the UPS store had (which is also kind of frustrating, because I called them and they said they didn’t have it then go there and bam there it is) but, I’ve been messing with things again.  I got some silk cord, and cotton cord, so I’ve been doing some mixed media type things.  I made this cute bracelet with the cotton cord, with a knotting technique I wanted to use.  And, I made a tastle for the bracelets also!  It’s been super fun tinkering with jewelry again, and I’ll get some pictures when it’s not so gloomy here haha.

 

I got a little impulse buy crazy this morning, when Etzy sent me an email recommending my kryptonite.  I keep on getting emails showing me mermaid charms, and ugh I love mermaids so much I just have to buy them when I see them!  They are big pendants, which I don’t have, so I picked them up cuz why not.  I also, uh, got some dagger, shield, and knight’s helmet charms because I’m also a sucker for medieval anything.  But, I also got an idea for a charm bracelet with all three of those as well, so it’s not totally just an impulse buy! (it totally was).

 

In all seriousness, I’ve had a concept for a line of pendants that those charms could help me figure out, so when I get them it will be a bonus.  I got wire as well, so I got back into the groove of makering, and made a snowflake for Christmas!  All in all I’m super excited to be back doing this again, I’ll probably have pictures soon!  Though when I say that it never happens, so I guess a photo dump will just have to happen eventually lol.

My Jump Ring Attaching Alternative

While working with the jewelry supplies I have, I came to a realization.  It was something I already knew, but it just hit home how much I honestly detest jump rings hahaa.  Like, I see a tutorial, and when it uses jump rings I instantly go “OK I can do this instead of using jump rings because like hell I am going to try and open and close those”.  I tinkered with chain mail a year ago or so, and it was just really, really difficult for me to tell when a ring was closed or not.  I couuuuuld get a jump ring opener, but honestly, I like the decorative twist my work around adds, and it is doable just with the wire you’re using (or, adding some extra wire to your piece).  I will say that it adds a bit more length to whatever you’re making than a jump ring would, depending on how many wraps you make, but it’s just soooo much easier for me than jump rings so the pros outweigh the cons.  Of course, it comes down to your personal preference:  Just figured I’d share my methods for attaching pieces together without jump rings, so here we go~

 

 

Both methods have the same process:  Making a wrapped loop at the end of the piece.  The variations on these are, either making the wrapped loop attached to the piece with a piece of unfinished wire, or just taking a small piece of wire, and making a wire wrapped loop dangle as its own component, attaching it to the charm or beads you want to attach.  Doing this has a few, easy steps:

 

Cut a small piece of wire, the longer the better, in case you make a mistake and have to snip some off.  I don’t measure…anything, really, so just eyeball measure as much as you think you need.

Take your flat nose, or chain nose pliers.  Bend the wire, so it’s shaped like an “L”.

Take your round nose pliers.  Put them at where you made the bend, then curve the wire around the pliers, and have it cross over the wire so it’s shaping an “X” but with a circle at the bottom of it (That circle at the bottom is the loop you just made).  I guess it can be considered a teardrop with an “X” at the top of it, too.

Make 2 or 3 wraps, depending on how many wraps you want to add to your piece.  Keep in mind that the more wraps you make, the longer the dangle will become.  You can also just make a loop without wrapping, once again it’s all up to you and your preference.

Take the other end of the wire, which has remained straight the entire time and make a loop with it.  If you’re adding a charm, or beads, then add those first, then make your loop locking the charm or bead inside.  Note:  Try to keep your beads or charms in place with your other hand, because it likes to move around!  Make a loop big enough to accommodate your charms or beads, but also one that’s the size you want.  This is the trickiest part, and took me the longest to master.

If you’ve added a charm or bead, and want it to face a certain way (like, so the charm isn’t dangling sideways and not visible when you’re wearing a necklace or something) take some flat nose pliers, or chain nose pliers, and adjust the loop until the charm or beads are facing the way you want them.  With thinner gauges of wire, you can use your hands to adjust, and hey, if you have Superman hand strength, perhaps you can even adjust thicker gauges of wire!  Just be careful to not do this too much, because there is the possibility of breaking the wire.  Also do it gently, so you don’t mark the wire with your pliers.

 

That’s all there really is to it – I use this all the time, and I’m telling you that is just saves me from so much stress when it comes to putting finishing touches on my pieces.  I’ve used this to attach earrings to ear wires, add charms to necklaces, and even to make the eye part of a hook and eye clasp.  And, you can also do the flip side of this:  Making a loop on your necklace or bracelet, then connecting a handmade clasp with the method above.  Personally, I find it flows a lot nicer than throwing a jump ring on, because it looks like another part of the piece if you proportion it right, and all it takes is practice and some wire.  Granted, opening and closing jump rings does too, but pshaw I can’t be bothered with that 😄

 

What about you, have you found alternative ways to do popular jewelry techniques?  Do you find them better, worse, the same as the traditional method?  I’m starting to play around with doing a lot of traditional techniques a “non-traditional” way, and I have been liking my way of doing things 😄 not that the normal way is bad or anything, it’s just fun to experiment, and learn that way for me.

I’ve Found My Kryptonite, Guys

Ok guys.

I am not an impulse buyer at all. Like, so much so that I window shop, agonize over the price of something big or small, look at it for a few days, go back and forth, back and forth about whether not I should buy it, try not to think about it for a week, but really think about it for a week, am like “OK I’m gonna do it I’ma buy this stuff” then all through check out am like AHHH AHHH I’m doing it I’m buying it dear Lord what am I doing AHHH and then it only winds up being 20 dollars and I’m like why am I freaking out so much about purchasing this I have issues.

But.

Etzy is a sneaky sneaky emailer with a sneaky sneaky way of getting me to impulse buy – because they show me things that I looked at before only on other shops and they are so irresistible that I just have to buuuy T_T

What is my kryptonite, you ask? Fantasy things. Specifically, mermaids. I have been looking all over for some good mermaid charms, and I usually only look at jewelry things on Etzy. So this morning, they sent me an email recommending things I might like, one of them being these charms from this shop and they were such a bargain that I got them like, without any of the agonizing stupidity I outlined above.

But that’s not all! I was browsing the rest of the shop, and ran across my many other loves: Fairies, the moon, sea creatures, shells, and so many other things that if I listed them right here this post would be sooooo long. So of course, I tacked on some fairies and moon charms to my order and I regret nothing.

Definitely going to keep on buying from this store: the prices are such a good bargain, and all the reviews say they are great quality. Besides, some things you just don’t want to have to figure out how to make yourself, and for me (and probably a lot of other people) adorable charms are one of these things. Can’t wait to get these, and tinker with them while designing! I’m getting more into mixed media stuff, and am really interested to see how these will pair with some silk or cotton cording. And besides, tomorrow is my birthday, so I figured I might as well treat myself to some goodies to play with because I won’t be ordering jewelry supplies for a while.

Have you ever found something you just had to buy, right then, right there? I would love to hear your stories!

My First Braided Cabochon Capture!

Have you ever been working on another project, and while doing so, another technique you were trying to master just clicked?  That happened to me a few days ago when I was practicing an eight strand braid on some 26 gauge wire.  I was using such a thin gauge just for practice, and because I’m almost out of my thicker gauge wires (need to put an order in soon). After finishing up on my practice piece, I was like, well I better try and use this for something!  So I went to try and capture a cabochon with the braid.  Bad news:  26 gauge wire is far too thin a gauge to do more than a cage with small beads and cabs.  The good news:  The technique for capturing a cabochon with a braid just clicked, so I went to work on getting that technique down!

 

A large white glass cabochon, with a four wire braid around it's edges to capture it. The bail consists of a four wire braid, that is coiled in a circular fashion to sit on top of the stone. A green adventurine bead sits on a dangle above the braid, and a loop for hanging the pendant is above the bead.

When I first tried it, I used some 20 gauge, copper wire.  I braided the braid so tight, that I couldn’t stretch out the sections of the braid with the crochet hook, like the tutorial says.  So instead, I made a braid with 22 gauge wire,  and when I went to stretch it out for the capturing process, it totally worked!  I’m sooooo excited that I finally figured out how this capture technique works, because it’s one I’ve been wanting to figure out how to do for ages.  I just find it so pretty, and I was right:  It’s gorgeous!  I have majorly gotten into doing braided bracelets recently too, after practicing it a bit:  Like I said, I just love how it looks, and definitely can see myself using braiding with both wire and cording.  I already have some other design ideas planned with this woo!

Flower Power! My Flower Pendant Jewelry Designs

Finally got around to taking pictures of my most recent creations jewelry wise today, so here’s my post about them!

 

As I stated before, these pieces are completely created from designs I had in my head – doesn’t necessarily mean they’re original, but they are things I came up with on my own so I was happy about that.  What I’ve been working on primarily, is different types of flower pendants.  Initially, I wanted to find another way to make wire work roses, because I really didn’t like how the spiral rose way I’ve seen used looked.  I came up with these:

 

A reath of six wire work roses, with each alternating rose holding a 6 MM rose quartz bead in the center. Each flower connects to the other with twisted wire, and each rose consists of six petals, that are shaped upward, to form a rose. Each flower is facing outward, so the center of each rose is visible.

 

After a bit of experimenting, with a few different ways to make these, I decided I liked this way the best.  And what I did to make them was super simple, and with a technique I already used!  I thought, the method you use to make the petals you use to weave your Viking knit on would be perfect for making roses the way I wanted them to look.  So, I made the petals with that method, then pushed them up, and shaped them with my fingers to make them look like a 3 dimensional rose.  I left long enough stems to fasten each rose together, and tah-dah!  What I like to call, the Rose Wreath pendant was born.

 

There are a few things I definitely think I would do differently making this one again:  the pendant wiggles a bit, because I just connected each rose together by their stems.  But I think making a frame, decorating that, then wrapping the roses onto said frame would come out a lot nicer, and a lot sturdier.  Also, when wiring the beads into the centers, I found it to be a major pain doing it after I had made the roses, so I know I would do that before doing any of the major design work on another rose pendant, like I did on the flower pendant below:

 

A lily flower made out of wire, with petals woven out of blueish-gray seed beads, with silver seed beads at the tip of each petal. The lily sits in the center of a circular wire frame, and is surrounded by filigree made out of silver wire that's twisted, with leaves, branches, and small silver petaled flowers with blue centers scattered throughout each vine.

I used the Viking knit petal method for this one, too, only left the petals flat and shaped them each to points.  After that, all I did was weave beads into each petal with some 28 ga wire.  I left the stem long enough, so I could use it to wrap the flower onto the frame when I was done with it.  I really wanted to put the filigree with wire craftsy class I took to some use, and decided to embellish the bail, and other parts of the frame with some filigree.  I have a bigger version of this too, but honestly it’s far too big to be a pendant, so not sure what I’m going to do with it 😄 that version also had five petals, and I feel like that worked a lot better than six petals, but overall I’m happy with how this came out.  I’m going to be entering this one into the monthly contest on the Wire Wrapped Tips and Tutorials Facebook group.  I know it probably won’t get much attention, but I’m just excited to be entering something into one of those contests for once and not being like “ooooh well maybe next time” lol.

 

 

And that’s generally what I’ve been up to!  If you have any critiques on how to improve any of these designs, I’d love to hear them!  Happy makering to you all!  The post on Thursday will also be a jewelry related one, can’t wait to show it to you guys!

W00TMoving in the Right Direction!

I’m soooo excited you guys!  Last night, and well, a few days ago I had this idea for a jewelry design.  I’ve seen so many tutorials on how to make a rose, and have tried the technique, and honestly I just never thought that technique for making a rose looked like the type of rose I wanted to make.  So I was determined to try and figure out how to make a 3 dimensional rose to implement in designs, that I thought looked like a legit rose, so got to work with some proto types last night.

 

It honestly didn’t take long to figure out – I had already had a general idea on how I was going to try to do it, tried that, and it didn’t work.  So after that, I did a few tests, and got the desired look I wanted!  I’m so excited to start using it not only for making roses, but I can see it working really well to make daisies, lilies, and other flowers.  It looks like it will be really easy to weave on the petals, if I really wanted to, and I have just been coming up with idea after idea on how to use it in different designs.  I’ll take some pictures of some things to post next week over the weekend, because the first thing I did, I already can see how to make the pendant look better/be more stable.  So as always, I think I’m going to just keep the first attempt I tried as a badge of honor.

 

What is more important to me is, I 100 percent figured this out on my own!  No tutorials, no looking at other people’s pieces:  I took the knowledge I had from practicing other styles of wire work, from the classes I’ve taken on craftsy, and used them all to do this.  In fact, I used something I do for Viking knitting to make the roses.  It was just a major step in the right direction for me, and boosted my confidence hardcore.  Now I feel like, I can say that this piece is a Crystal original, no questions asked, and it really plays up the nature/fantasy/chunky/lacey motif that I love to make so much when I make things (yes, I know those all sound drastically different, but I love the end result when I finish a piece XD).

 

I’ve also thought of a way to capture stones with the technique of making the petals, to make a sort what I am tentatively calling a disco ball capture 😄 I’m going to try it tonight and see how it goes, so wish me luck!  I can tell that this weekend will be a major photo taking one, if all of these attempts go well!

 

I’ve majorly gotten into making more wire based pieces, with cabs and beads as accent pieces.  When I use a cab, I want both it and the wire to tell a story, and I feel like I’m finally getting that across in my work.  I love doing free form, or just winging it when I work, and I feel like I’m coming into my own as far as designing is going.  Next step, will be getting the confidence to start selling pieces!