Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Earrings and more earrings. Victorian inspired handmade earrings.

Preparing for the fall craft show season, which means lots and lots of earrings. Indeed, earrings are the best sellers at the shows in these parts. Apparently in the middle of Michigan, people like earrings.
So I'm cranking out earrings like it's nobody's business. Also making these earring cards, which is slightly time consuming. But I think they're pretty.

Some are listed on Etsy, some aren't and never will be. But if there's any you'd like that aren't on Etsy, let me know and we can work something out.

Fabulous display idea from The Speckled Dog blog!

Ever on the look out for fabulous display and jewelry storage ideas. I like my displays to have a shabby chic handmade feel, and I always need jewelry storage for my own use here at home.

Love love love this plate turned jewelry tray idea from The Speckled Dog!

There's a full tutorial on the BLOG showing how she made it out of plates from Target. Really, who doesn't LOVE Target? It's a DIY shabby chic version of a vintage dessert tray, and I'm lovin it.

I've been hitting up the thrift stores hunting for treasure to make various displays of my own for the upcoming fall/winter show season. I have two in the process right now that I hope to have pictures of soon.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pantone fashion color report, fall 2011

Everyone is talking about this season's new color chart from Pantone! I'm excited about the teals and browns, two of my favorite colors to work with! You can get a smaller version of the seasonal color trends at Fire Mountain Gems.

Check out the Pantone fashion report for fall 2011 here, and delight in the designers from the 2011 Fashion Week in New York. Personally, I'm in LOVE with this teal coat from designer Shaun Kearney

And here I am, anxiously awaiting pay day so I can go BOOT SHOPPING! Well, I can't splurge on Michael Kors, but there's a similar pair downtown that I've had an eye on. A girl can dream though...

This is my first contribution to the celebration of fall. Vintage filigree paired with teal Swarovski crystals that shimmer as if there was living water inside. They're set on a fan of floral filigree and hang from brass ear wires. Available at Peacock Tres Chic.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Handmade jewelry display by Infarrantly Creative

I'm always looking for cute creative ways to store and display jewelry. I LOVE love love this handmade display made by Beckie that I found on Infarrantly Creative, and there's a tutorial on her blog to make it! Thanks Beckie!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tutorial - Layered stamping necklace

This is a step by step tutorial on how I make most of my pendants, with manufactured brass and sterling plated brass stampings and filigree.
Click on the images to see them full scale!
1. The example of what I'm making. The brass piece is already finished, the stampings on the side are the ones I'm using for this project, the same necklace in silver. I use a board for my projects because I don't always sit at a table, I prefer to sit on the floor or the couch. The white fabric is felt, it keeps the materials from slipping around when I design. 2. These are the sterling plated brass stampings I'm using for this pendant. You may notice that you don't see the really large round stamping in the finished necklace, that's because I only use about a quarter of it, I often take stampings apart and just use the pretty bits I like.

3. These are the tools I use for this project.

  1. Safety glasses, to be used whenever I use the Dremmel tool

  2. Needle nose pliers (Or chain nose pliers) these are jewelry pliers, not hardware pliers. The hardware pliers come with alligator teeth that can mark up your metals, you don't want to use that kind. Invest in a nice pair of jewelry pliers if you want your stuff to look nice.

  3. Flat pliers

  4. Round nose pliers

  5. Bent chain nose pliers

  6. Bail making pliers

  7. Wire cutters

  8. Fine tip tweezers

  9. Jeweler's file (Or hobby file)

  10. Cut off wheel bits for the Dremmel

  11. Electric Dremmel tool

  12. Amazing brand GOOP for CRAFT adhesive

  13. Amazing brand E-6000 adhesive

  14. Cardboard and toothpick for applying the adhesive

-Note- there are two different types of glue, I'll go over these later

3A. I have a protective coating on the flat pliers, I use them to handle and bend my metal pieces. The protective coating keeps the pliers from scratching the soft brass. I use Tool Magic, you just dip them in and let it set over night.

4. The large round piece of filigree needs to be broken up, I only used a portion of it in this piece. I used the Dremmel tool to cut away the larger pieces around the outside of what I wanted to work with. You can use wire cutters, but this type of work is rough on them and it can be rough on your hands. Once the larger pieces are cut off, you can normally bend the brass where the stamping process has left indentions in the metal. Bend it enough times and it will break. This can work to your advantage, but always keep this in mind when you're bending and folding pieces that you don't want to break, and be extra careful.

When you're done cutting and bending away the extra pieces, the edges will be really sharp where you've taken the metal away. Use the jeweler's file to file down the burs until they're smooth.

5. Making a bail is simple, and it's a cute way to hang your pendant from a chain or cord. Most small flat pieces of filigree will work, there's not a single piece you need to use. You can get as creative as you'd like. Wrap the piece around the bail making pliers and pinch the ends together. Make sure there's enough room for the chain to slide through it. You can use round nose pliers to make bails as well, but they're tapered and it takes a little more work to get it perfect.

6. Decide which glue is going to be the best for the pieces you're currently working with. I've already glued the wings down and now am going to glue the filigree piece on top. Like the wings, this piece is hallow in the back. For hallow pieces, I use the Amazing Goop for Craft, because it fills in the gaps nicely. For perfectly flat pieces, like cabochons, I use the E-6000. The Goop takes a little bit longer to set before you can handle it than the E-6000. Whenever your glue is still wet, the pieces can slide and your design will suffer, so make sure it's completely dry before you continue to work.

-Notes about glue-

  • These glues dry clear, but that doesn't mean you can't see it at all. Try to avoid getting globs seeping over the edges. While it's still wet, use an exacto knife or the tip of your tweezers to swipe away any excess. The glue is much easier to remove when it's wet than it is dry.

  • Apply the glue where the two pieces you're combining come into contact the most. If you're not sure, put a little glue there anyway.

  • Make sure all your pieces are bent before you glue. If you try bending anything after the gluing is done, the glue will loosen. I only bent a couple pieces of metal in this pendant, the filigree in step 6, and the winged figure I'll be gluing at the end.

The following pictures are the continuation of the gluing process.

7. Before I finish gluing, I need to bend the winged figure. You can see in the first picture that his wings stick up just a little bit, and I want them flattened to the filigree he's resting on. I used my protective coated flat pliers to bend the wings down and back just a little bit.

8. To attach the Swarovski crystal flat backs, I use the E-6000 glue. You can apply the glue directy to the back of the crystal, but they get difficult to hold when they're so tiny. I prefer to apply a small amount of glue on the metal where you're placing them. I use the tweezers to apply the tiny crystals, it's much less clumsy than trying to use your fingers. The glue will probably seep out from around the crystal, make sure to swipe this away with a razor as soon as possible, while it's still wet.

9. There are several ways to attach the bail to your pendant. I used the simple technique of connecting the bail and pendant with a jump ring. When using jump rings, remember not to pry the loop apart, twist one side of the break toward you and one away.

Once your piece is totally dry, overnight or 24 hours, you can slip a chain or cord through the bail and and call it a day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oh universe.....

I've been taking a break from the jewelry crafting, pending the healing of what is assumed to be tendonitis in my left thumb. Trying not to use it and loading up on my B vitamins has done the trick in the past, and has avoided costly doctor visits.

While biding my time I've been giving my Etsy shop a makeover, as well as experimenting with thumb friendly activities like adding my own finishes to some of my brass pieces. The other day during one such experiment, I managed to get a nice chemical burn on my other hand.

Is the universe telling me it's time to give up and just be content to be a housewife and mother the rest of my years?

Curiouser and curiouser.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My own stash

Every once in a while I go through a phase where I decide I want to make jewelry for myself. My wardrobe tends towards the dark side. I'm going back to my victorian roots with my Etsy shop, but at the tail end of the gothic kick I made a few things for myself to wear.

However, I can't wear any of these things on a daily basis. These are more like date night trinkets. Especially the crystal studded hoop earrings. My son thinks they're handles and he's attracted to all things shiny.

Friday, August 19, 2011

La Belle Anne

This is a new photo of an old cuff I made last year. I'm very fond of this cuff, it features a vintage cameo that I've had since I was a kid. It's a gorgeous creamy ivory and vintage rose pink color, and it's slightly marbled. You don't see the marble coloring on the new vintage reproduction cameos very often. I'm not sure how old the cameo is, but it was an antique when it found it's way into my posession.

The brass cuff has the most gorgeous floral detailing on it. I've kept the other brass adornments simple, to let the cameo take the spotlight. Two little pearls on either side compliment the creamy ivory of the flower relief.

Available for purchase at Peacock Tres Chic.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I've been thinking a lot on the direction my jewelry has been going and I've come to realize I'm not entirely content. I've always had an intense love of all things victorian and vintage, and suddenly for some reason I started working in a more gothic direction. Sure, I wear mostly black, and I went through a gothic stage a few years back. I still wear the occasional noir piece. But I'm not being honest with myself.

What I want to make, is back where I started. My jewelry sprang from that love of victoriana, the lavish jewels and splendid array of colors. I miss brass. I've worked in dominantly silver for the past several months and I miss the brass. I'm a grown woman, and I think the gothic look is a little immature. It's great for a certain audience, but that audience isn't mine.

I'm looking forward to starting the fall season with some more victorian inspired designs. I'm letting an injured thumb heal, then it's back to work.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Goodbye, my lovely

I've always been a little on the fence about this piece. I was so excited to get the materials, thinking I had the perfect design in my head, only to get them all home and together and realize it wasn't really what I wanted. I played with them for a day or two, moving them around my bead board waiting for the magic to happen when the layers were in perfect harmony. I think I settled when the magic didn't happen. I was just determined to have it made.

It's gotten good reviews. People seem to like it. And it got a lot of attention at a local festival when I had it at the booth. But I'm tired of having it here. I feel like it's mocking me, being a second thought design.

Seeing as people seem to really like it, I've decided to donate it to the local Art Reach of Mt. Pleasant to be put in the annual silent auction. I hope it is a good contribution to the cause.