The idea this year is…

…to follow the inspiration from these books….

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…and see where it takes me.
Jen ๐Ÿ™‚

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Who am I and why am I here

Over the next month there will be some extra not-so-crafty posts as I take part on the Zero to Hero (30 days to a better blog) Challenge on WordPress. Today’s post is about introducing myself, and I will also link my very post here.

This page is all about my crafty endeavours, market tips and hints, storage ideas. All crafty orientated, but the main idea is to showcase my beaded and jewellery pieces and put them out there.

A brief history is that I started beading when my youngest was just a baby back in 2004, and as we moved to another town I was able to sell my (very mediocre) jewellery in a shop and then branched out into markets. My style has changed a little over time and I have tried many new things – all the time knowing my limitations on what I can do. Sure, you can do anything, but my patience level is not where it should be for certain types of beading. And I’m happy with that.

If this sounds like you, and you might want to keep reading then I welcome you along.

My very first post here on this blog.
Interesting reading, and somewhat similar. I’m not sure how many of the links work at the moment. My apologies if they go nowhere.

Catch you for the next post. ๐Ÿ™‚

Jen

Time to get (shrinky) plastic!

Omg! This stuff is amazing.
Ok, I’ll back track a little. I’ve just got back to my craft room and decided to test out the new shrink plastic I got delivered this week.
It had instructions included and I decided to try the heat gun as it was readily available. Cutting a piece half as big again as one of my new green clay pendants I punched a hole on the top corners, and drew a couple of flowers with a permanent pen.
Heat gun test. Carefully firing up the gun the plastic shrivelled like you would think any plastic would – remember those chip packets we used to shrink in the oven – Eeek!!! whats happened to my cute little plastic – then turned it over and waved the heat gun over it, and by all manner of miracles, it unravelled and is now a cute little flat plastic with flowers on it.
The holes need to be bigger as they closed up in the shrinking, but I am going to love this!!!
The picture shows the after size. The plastic before was bigger than the green clay.

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Toaster oven test. The next instruction on the list was toaster oven (I’m declining to use the normal oven for health purposes ( the frying pan in the last post is an exception, but yes, the food utensil rule still applies).
Cutting another piece around the same size and drawing squiggles on it I used the full size hole punch and put holes in the top corners. Into the oven and when it was all curled up, pulled it out and flipped it over, and back in again. Flattening out – golly this stuff is so cool, folds up like a scrunch of paper and then unfolds itself again as though its changed its mind – and looking rather neat.
The holes are useable (big hole punch definitely recommended) and the pattern actually looks better smaller.
I am so happy with this. I can see all sorts of fun stuff happening. Especially when I start adding a decent traced picture, and colour, as the colour is supposed to intensify on baking. It has been mentioned that if it curls up on itself then to place baking paper on the top to stop it sticking and I may try that next time. All in all a lovely afternoon of quick craftiness. A couple of easy things to make, prepare earlier and then bake when I have the time. Although two minutes of baking is nothing at all.
Part of the instructions also say to sand the plastic before drawing on it, maybe the spots will go the, or maybe they’re something else. I didn’t sand it either this time.

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Have fun ๐Ÿ™‚
Jen

Time to get (friendly) plastic

It’s that time again. Today, in between unexpected taxi jobs, I am playing with the new plastic I got recently. There are two types and after today I will be able to decided which I prefer or it may even be both.
First cab off the rank is friendly plastic. There are two ways to heat it. In a water bath or a heat gun. I have loan of a heat gun, so we’re going there first.
A little googling to see how long to leave it to cool and then I’ll be right into it. Ok. I need to leave it to cool completely before removing it from the paper. So while I am waiting for that I can have a look a the shrinky plastic.

Friendly plastic before cutting and heating.

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The first cuts broke it, which disappointed me, but there after it cut neatly, phew.

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And my first and second attempts.

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Aft seeing how soft they go under the heat gun I may try the water bath to make a cuff, as I only need to soften the plastic not meld it together. I’d like to try the pink one as a cuff first.
The second one does look vaguely better in the flesh, and with more practice they will look 100% better. I am liking this, it’s kind of like working with dichroic glass, except the results are almost instant, instead of having to wait 12 hours. I can definitely see me doing more of this down the track.

Jen ๐Ÿ™‚

Clay time with flower stamps

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here, and believe me I’ve tried. So much has been happening in my personal life that I’ve barely had time to think crafty. That 3 weeks til market has shrunk ridiculously quickly and is down to less than one week. And I had all these great ideas to get some new items done. I have now got all the bits I wanted – from that cool book I bought – and can make any of the items when I am ready.
Today I am going to have a go at the clay. Its going to be easy. Well, simple projects. Pendants of clay, in bright colours with flower stamps (or indents) either left as pendants or simply strung on chain or ribbon.
That is the idea. I like my brights. That is my thing. Sure I could do muted tones, but while not ‘selling myself out’ I’d still rather not do them. I want to make things I like, and encourage the people that like the same things. Bright is beautiful, always reminiscent of summer and fun times.

Hmm, I’ve had a very little play and it seems that I really should be using ink with the stamps. The impression is alright but will better with ink. The to do some research.

~insert time lapse~

Alright, I’m back. Done some research, Made a few more purchases, and now waiting for the delivery.
I’ve baked the clay and they look ok. Bright colours are rarely classy and while I am not looking for that genre, I still want them to look good. I’ve decided a few can be made into a brooch with a cloth background. I think that might be ok. I also have to work hard at making things small. I need to make something, and then go, halve it. Then it might be the right size. But is that stepping away from who I am. I have to find a way to market my items towards those that like big bright jewellery.
These are the few pendants I made, I quite like them. The pink and green one was rounded and smoothed out before I baked them. I’m thinking of just stringing them on a simple chain or ribbon with the ink and white one being a vintage styled half beaded necklace.

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Sometimes trying new things is more than a gamble. It’s working out whether you want to keep doing it, or whether its something you can do. I visited a shop my mum was working in (as part of selling items there, the co op ask that you do some work as well) and saw lots of gorgeous pieces of jewellery that jolted me back to inspiration. And I think I know what I want. Making beads to be used in necklaces rather than the foal points. We’ll see how the next lot goes.

Jen

New ideas, new inspirations

I relieved a book the other day – it only took 3 months to get here, my fault, but all sorted with thanks to a lovely friend – I can’t wait to start trying some of the ideas in there.

Sewing,

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clay,

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And shrinky plastic are the new things I can play with.

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Looking forward to playing, very soon.
Jennifer ๐Ÿ™‚

Craft room madness again – jewellery storage

I’m at it again. Re-sorting my room. Just one small part of it this time. Part of the made jewellery storage.
After my screen seemed to work for market display and transport, I re-jigged it and added business cards to the necklaces to help them hang better.
Today I went one step further.
My jewellery is currently stored in some great stationery drawers but the only place to put them means that the top ones are too high for me to see into clearly.
Bring back the business cards and one of my spinning racks. Ta-daa.
Have all my jewellery attached to cards. Everyone gets a card on purchase anyway. This way I can hang anything on the screen, and if they are on the spinner at home I can keep an eye on what I have, and organise it so the same things don’t go to two consecutive markets.
As you can see – crappy night pictures and all – they hang nicely and I have the top spinner for my bracelets.

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These drawers are what I am using currently for storage. The only problem is that I can’t see into the top three without getting a step stool. Sure the rack is taller and I have to stretch to reach the top, but I can see instantly what is there, and if I don’t mind some of the longer chains sitting on the base piece the I can lower each section to a more manageable height.

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This is only a portion of what I have in stock, I need to find or get more cards first.
How do you store your jewellery?

Wire wrapping part 2

After my first attempt failed miserably wasn’t quite what I expected I thought I might try out some of the ‘easier’ wire projects and some of those bird nest pendants I’ve been wanting to try for quite a while.

~ time lapses ~

First I have tried the ‘bound chaos’ pendant. I thought more of ‘bundle of sticks’ but I have to agree their name is better. If I want to sell them I have to find my own name.
The instructions say to use 22 and 24 gauge* wire. The first time I used 22 and 26 as I have no 24 gauge and I found the whole thing a little too delicate. The picture in the book makes it look delicate but still chunky. And that’s exactly what I wanted.
The next two I made (with gold wire) were with 20 and 22 gauge wire. Perfect. Chunky but not too big and still delicate.

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*the larger the gauge number for wire there’re delicate it is. So a 14 or 16 is quite thick and a 26 delicate. 32 usage is good for knitting or crocheting items.

~ some more time lapses ~

Hip to be square pin. Or it could be circle.
This is something simple that might take the place of a brooch to hold your scarf or cardigan together. I have a brown cardi that while comfy and warm doesn’t tie up at the front. Unless I want to look like a sack of spuds. This would work nicely. I can make the pin with whatever colour bead I like to match my outfit. One shape with many pins.

The wire the book uses is 22g sterling silver and 26g for an embellishment, with a square bead on the end of 18g wire for the pin. I chose to use 20g and 18g silver with a red cinnabar bead for brightness and fun.
I used 140cm of wire instead of 180 (that’s a lot of wire!) for the body of the brooch and the pin had a longer bead with a long wrapped loop rather than just one or two wraps as is the norm. I also thought the longer wraps would match the length of the bead and having the wire over the top of the bead acts as a focal point on its own.
Tell me. Should I add more wire, red or silver as an embellishment? Simply wrapped around the existing wraps. I quite like it as it is.

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And according to the book

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I’m quite happy with both of these, the brooch/scarf pin particularly. I’m pretty sure there will be a wire work parts 3 and 4 coming up as I work my way through the book.
What do you think?

Wire wrapping – a cage for amethyst

As you saw the other day I bought myself a book at the craft fair, and then two days later mum gave me some gorgeous semi precious stones. Lots of little amethyst stones. Seem are big enough to drill a hole in, others are on the small side. So I shall put my skills to the test and see if I can use this book and make a wire cage for the amethyst stones.

The book is called Elegant Wire Jewellery and has many good ideas and inspiration for me to add new and exciting elements into my jewellery. There are the lightweight and simple designs for an understated chain necklace or options to add elements together to make a chunkier detail for more intense necklaces.
And of course options for me to wire wrap or encase my stones or glass beads.

~ some time later ~

First up, I am happy with my attempt. It’s free range and organic. Just like I prefer. I like the idea of fun and quirky items.
Second. Wire wrapping like this is hard, and fiddly and I have immense respect for those who can do it and have neat, tidy and perfect results.
And both these point are attributed directly to our personality. Some people are definitely more perfectionist and anal than others. I know who and what I am, and I’m happy with that.

I’m thinking this means I should show you what I did. I was aiming for a a rectangular cage, what I got was a squarish ball cage that started of ok and then went downhill from there.
I’m not sure if I’ll keep it for myself or just write it off as a learning curve item and cut it up.

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20130705-121639.jpg I did tuck in that piece of wire. No sharp ends to snag anything now.
What do you think? Are you a free range organic sort of person, or do you prefer the perfect angles and curves.

Cool stones and new projects

Catching up with mum and dad briefly this evening she brought it a small paper bag and gave it to me.
Upon opening I found a handful of the most gorgeous stones. Bought from a market in Finland they are just perfect to wire wrap or drill holes in to attach bails for hanging.
Some of the smaller ones I might even make a cage for and have a collection on a pendant necklace.

If anyone can tell me the names of the three large stones that would be great.

Pretty stones ready for making

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And one of the ideas I have for them, the cages, not the whole bracelet (not yet anyway)

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Thanks in advance for any help.
Jen ๐Ÿ™‚