Friday, August 27, 2010

Recycled Silver

So I joined this Art Charm group and it is all about making charms out of unusual objects and learning new techniques like resin, polymer clay and book making. Well in my brain storming I decided to make a charm holder and then dangles charms off of it. Instead of using some of my new silver wire I looked in my bag of silver scraps destined for the melting pot and out this came.

Kind of funky and definitely green and recycled.

Today I made nothing and took a little break...well not really. My mother and I went shopping, that qualifies as a break doesn't it. While we were out my wonderful hubby calls me to tell me we are going on a cruise in a few months.....woo hoo a real vacation. Needless to say our shopping took a turn and instead of shopping for some new fall fashions it was dressy cruise attire. It was so much more fun shopping with something in mind. Even better was the fact that all the items were on their summer clearance.

Have a great weekend folks.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Special Orders up the Kazu

Now mind you I'm not complaining but wow. I'm still back logged. I finished 3 bracelet and earring sets today and still have 4 trees left to finish and then more tree orders to start another bracelet and earring set and a large piece of turquoise to wire wrap. How did this happen...oh yea, we were working on the house and I completely ignored those requests until I just had to get them done. Note to not wait until the last minute to get special orders completed.

These did turn out quite well if I say so myself.

There were two sets like the first photo which has blue topaz, blue sapphires, freshwater pearls, lapis and coral. The second set contains mostly turquoise, apatite and tiger eye and I actually think it is my favorite. Can you imagine this with a gold chain bracelet...I just love turquoise and gold together.

Well tomorrow is my birthday and I have no idea of what to do. And no you can not ask how old I'm going to be although I'm sure some of my friends and family that read this post know. I will tell you it is a milestone birthday, but then again aren't they all.

Have a good one.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Need A Rest

Okay, more like my fingers need a rest. Made 6 small gem trees today as part of a special order for a customer. I have 4 more to make and then I will mount all of them on small rocks. These are all 4 to 6" trees that I consider small as most of my trees are about 3 times this size in terms of amount of wire and stones used. I'm sure you aren't going to be able to tell from the picture but there is a Jade Bonsai, Citrine Charm, Turquoise Pine, Breast Cancer Awareness, Freshwater Pearl and Rock Crystal made with magenta wire (it is the coolest looking one of the bunch).

Maybe I'll actually work on creating some new jewelry pieces tomorrow.

Happy Monday.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Busy Sunday

For some reason my weekends usually are jam packed full of things I have to do or need to do, well today was no exception...except I did what I wanted to do. I sewed. Spent all day in the craft room sewing up a storm and making items that I could list for sale. Knowing that the holidays are just around the corning, I decided that I needed to make some small items that customers could pick up fairly cheap as stocking stuffers or gift exchange items.

In total there were 7 jewelry pouches, 2 drawstring pouches and 4 kleenex holders. All but one jewelry pouch was listed today in my ArtFire studio, so if you see something you want you better grab it now. Here is the site link: Dana's Jewelry Design or you can just click the ArtFire Studio picture over on the right. It is hard to imagine that I'm already thinking about the holidays but when you have to get items ready to sell then you have to start early.

I did join in a new fun group this weekend just for me. It is a Yahoo Group called ArtCharms and was created by the authors of the book Making Mixed Media Art Charms & Jewelry. These gals are a hoot. If you are into art, jewelry, all things weird and unusual and swaps, you would fit right in. Here is the group link:

I did make a couple more items this weekend but the dogs wouldn't sit still long enough for me to take a good picture. Maybe tomorrow. I hope you are having a great day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Is It The End of Summer?

We spent a few days at the beach this week and you would have thought it was Fall. It was cold and rainy. I don't think it ever got above 63. When it really started to rain on Wednesday we decided that we had had enough and came back home. Yes, at home it was a balmy 80 and today somewhere in the 70's. So, note to those living in Washington and wanting to go to the beach, don't bother unless you want to get out of the heat as you won't find any sun there. I think Summer has definitely ended at the beach. This is my spoiled dog Leo, he thinks he is a baby most of the time.

I did get a nice surprise today in the mail. I had won a necklace from Laurel at Rue's Daftique. What a cool necklace and surprisingly it looks heavy but it very lightweight. It is the perfect mixed media piece and will look really funky with my odd assortment of clothing. Since I'm not working my attire is somewhat different as I usually just put on whatever is clean and sometimes I don't really match. I guess if just my hubby is seeing me it doesn't really matter does it? Here are the cool pics. First one is on the cute isn't it.

Isn't this just the coolest necklace. I may have to make me some key earrings to go with it.

I think I told you last week that I had ordered the book Making Mixed Media Art Charms & Jewelry by Peggy Krzyzewski and Christine Hansen, well I took some inspiration from that book and created this pendant. It is kind of hard to see as the photo isn't that great but the base is a facet mesh strainer with a button mounted in the center and then a crystal on top. The dangle is brass wire with various sizes of glass beads. I highly recommend the book as it does give you lots of ideas and techniques from soldering around glass to resin making, using paper to create charms and other found objects. I'm now looking for a group to do some charm swapping. I think creating charms and swapping them with other people would be a fun activity. If you hear of a group, let me know.

Tonight I was searching though my beads for a new bead swap that I'm participating in and found some doozies. Lots of pearls, some pewter, seed beads and mis matched gems. I have so many that I need to thin out of my stash that I may have to have a giveaway....Ah something to look forward to.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


You know the best thing in the world is visiting with friends you haven't seen in a long time. A couple of weekends ago I went and visited a friend in Portland which was a blast. We were able to reconnect and get to know each other better since it has been over a year. Today I had lunch with a dear friend that I miss often and she works in the same town that I live. I figure there is no reason for me to wait over 3 months to have lunch. It's not like I'm working, I'm open most days for lunch. Hint, hint friends that are reading this. So, for all you girlfriends out there reconnect with your friends, keep in touch, have lunch or take a couple of hours and go shopping, meet for drinks during happy hour, or just send them a thinking of you card...not an e-mail a real card. It is amazing how good it feels to get something in the mail besides bills.

So for that dear friend, here is your necklace and earring set.

My hubby had an old school friend over for dinner tonight so I'm half listening to war stories and the good old days of high school. I'm really glad he also has friends that he can reconnect with from time to time.

Stay in touch with your peeps since you never know if they will be around tomorrow.

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Look for Less or is it More

I received my Lucky Magazine in the mail today and usually I find some pretty interesting jewelry to get inspiration from but not this time, so I decided to see what the top designers were selling this season. Okay, you have to be kidding. What did I find but junk. Resin made to look like turquoise, gold plated and silver plated chain, cords, ribbon, fake gemstones and all starting at over $100.00. There was one piece that was $600 and there was nothing real on it, just some cording at the back, plated chains and brass charms hanging from the chains....what is that about. Are these designers so high on themselves and their names that they have to stick it to the public who may or may not be aware that they could get that same look with real sterling silver,leather and real gemstones for a drop in the bucket compared to what they are charging.

So, I decide to look at bracelets...okay they were not better and in some cases worse as the price was just as high or higher for crap. There was one designer bracelet that I really liked, he used leather and stones to create a wrap around bracelet the had knots that you tighten to secure. Hummm, not sure I like that but you really couldn't expect a real clasp for over $200 dollars now could you?

Here is my Look for Less on both of the bracelet that was priced at over $200 and the necklace at $400. Granted this is my interpretation but they look just as good if not better than the designer version.

The necklace very easy to make with leather and sterling silver chains. I added a rough handmade tassel and used a black onyx box clasp with a crystal and pearl charm drop. The bracelet however was harder than I thought it was going to be...okay, not harder but took longer to make but turned out great. I used Czech crystals and a sterling silver toggle clasp.

Have a great week and I'll keep tabs on those designers and maybe I'll find more inspiration to bring you along with maybe a tutorial.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Tutorial - Tree of Life Pendant

Since I have been working with gem trees it would be only natural that I would create a gem tree pendant. There are several jewelry designers out there that create wonderful pendants that are similar. Here is my take on this popular pendant. If you would prefer this in a downloadable .pdf please visit my Wrapped Up site HERE.

Supplies Needed:
  • 12” of 14 or 16 gauge wire (14 works best for me)
  • 48” of 26 gauge wire
  • Gemstone chips or other small beads
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Round nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Ruler (not pictured)
  • Bracelet mandrel or pill bottle to make the round frame (not pictured)

  1. Gather supplies as noted above.
  2. Wrap your 14 or 16 gauge wire around a bracelet mandrel or other round object such as a pill bottle for the shape of your wire frame and twist 3 times. Leave one end shorter than the other.
  3. Cut the shortest wire off at the twists.
  4. Straighten the long wire.
  5. Wrap the long wire around your round nose pliers to create a loop. This will be your bail.
  6. Continue wrapping the wire around the previous twists to secure.
  7. Cut the wire at the twists and flatten the sharp edge with your flat nose pliers tight against the other twists.
  8. Cut 8 pieces of 26 gauge wire at 6”.
  9. Separate the wires into two groups of 4 and twist them together leaving about an inch or more (mine was about an inch and a half) at the bottom.

10.      Measure your twisted wire against your frame to determine how high you want your tree trunk to be and adjust as necessary.
11.      Wrap the bottom wires around the frame at the bottom center about 3 or 4 times. Cut them at the back and tighten them against the frame.
12.      Spread your top branch wires and starting on one side add your beads.
13.      When the wire has been filled with beads, wrap it around the frame to secure. Keep this wire nice and tight. Cut the wire at the back (see picture 16) and flatten it against the frame with your flat nose pliers.
14.      Continue adding beads to your wires. As you can see I have twisted some of my wire branches together for a little added interest.
15.      Close up of wrapping the wire around the frame.
16.      Close up of cutting the wire at the back of the frame.
17.      Finished pendant.
18.      Arrange your branches to your satisfaction and your done.

There are so many other variations but I found this one to be simple for beginners.

These instructions are for your personal use, please do not distribute but you can link back to me.

Since I didn't have time last month for a tutorial, I'll write another one up later this month. Cheers and enjoy.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

New Project

It seems like I'm always starting something new but as a promise to myself I am trying to enter more jewelry design challenges. I find that they make me think in new directions and use new materials or techniques. This month the Art Bead Scene Challenge is to create something using the inspiration of "Sunrise" a folk art painting by John "Jack" Savitsky (1910-1991) painted in 1964.

I find imagery such as a painting hard to transfer to a three dimensional object but that is what a challenge is all about. So far I have a pendant that is almost there. I still want to put some citrine in it or something more yellow as it is depicting the sun, but I decided to stop and let it grow on me first before I mix it up. Still not sure about the rest of the necklace yet but since it is a folk painting I wanted to keep it pretty simple and something I would actually wear.

The house is finally getting back together... one room at a time. I've been trying to take one room a day and throughly clean and organize. Just two more rooms to go and we will be back to a clean house. We are loving our new kitchen and dining room and now can't wait to pull up the carpet in the living room and refinish those floors....okay maybe I can wait a bit more. I would like to live with a clean house for a few months before it gets dust ridden again.

We celebrated my dad's birthday tonight with my aunts that were in town from St. Louis, MO and Sherman, TX. It was great seeing them again. I don't think I had seen my Aunt Carolee since my grandfathers funeral which was a long time ago. I'm so glad they decided to come out and spend a couple of days with my dad. I know he really enjoyed it. They are leaving tomorrow and headed up to Victoria, BC for a couple of days before heading back home. Here I am with my aunts and dad. I think he looks pretty good for 74.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

A Couple of Great Tutorials

I know, I know I said I would get my tutorial posted soon and I will but in the meantime I found a couple you might really enjoy. This first one is from Honestly ... WTF blog and is a great idea. Friendship Necklaces based upon the ever popular friendship bracelets from our youth....okay maybe not yours but mine. So if you loved those bracelets you will love these. Very bohemian if you ask me and something I would totally wear.

This next necklace is just up my alley and is made with leather scraps. It just so happens when I was in Portland last weekend I purchased some leather scraps from Scrap. What a great shop to get recycle goods for your art projects. Okay I digress, this is made from recycled leather scraps in the shape of leaves but you could cut the leather into whatever shape you like but the leaves work great. Check out Missie Krissie's tutorial...I may have to make me one of these with my scraps.

Do these two necklaces remind you of anything? I'm thinking it's the 60's and 70's all over again, now all we need is a little fringe. Oh right, I already did that tutorial...check it out HERE.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Checking In

I got back from Portland last night. It was a really good weekend spent with a friend of mine. We went winery hopping and then visited the Portland Rose Garden and walked around in downtown Portland before I came home. Here is a picture of some of the roses I captured at the Rose Garden.

I'll be working on a new tutorial this week and we are still trying to get everything unboxed and put away in our new kitchen and dining room. Oh, such fun. It was worth all the dust, noise and smell to have brand new rooms to decorate.

Have a good Monday.


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