Friday, October 12, 2012

Non jewelry related Halloween post

I've been in Halloween decorating mode for a few days. I'm not done either, I have a whole second book case to decorate! This is the project I just finished. The entertainment center. It cost me a total of $4 to make alllll this stuff!
The only things I bought, were;
2 stamps from JoAnns, $1 each.
1 jar from JoAnns (The goblin brains)
Brown paper bags, from the dollar store. (Labels)

 My jars are from an old spice rack. I had the picture frames laying around from a craft show, and I used some vintage photo album/scrapbooks for the large books in the back. I cut my paper bags for labels and wrote on them, and added stamps. I mod podged them to the jars. I didn't mod podge the photo albums, I used a tiny piece of poster putty in the corners so I didn't ruin the albums. I also used the paper bags for the bindings of some photo albums as the spell books. And I have a scarf covering up our X-Box. (But only in the front, so I don't have the air vents covered. Don't want it overheating)

As for the contents of the jars;
Vanishing potion- Empty. Get it?
Love potion- Purple hand sanitizer with gel beads in it
Shriveled Slug- Caraway seed
Hag's warts- Peppercorn
Fur of Werewolf- Fuzzy yarn
Goblin brain- cotton balls
Zombie Virus- Aloe Vera gel
Mummy Dust- Some sort of herb powder, whatever was in the spice jar originally
Witch's Brew- Water with Mio and veggie oil
Ground Bone- Garlic powder
Eye of basilisk- Plastic beads

I called it Spooky Bear Alchemy Inc. because Bear is our son's nickname. I thought it was cute. And he has an Alchemy 101 book because he's a beginner. =)

I'm currently working on stuff with lace and fall leaves.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Victorian Trading Company

I've been all about this company for years now, but Halloween is by far my favorite time of year to get their catalog.
But that's beside the point.
I'm writing this blog, because while browsing the catalogs over the last couple of years I've been seeing many of the same stampings that I use in my own designs featured in the jewelry they sell.
I thought I'd share. A lot of my friends and fellow designers use these same materials.

Now back to Halloween, if I were to ever get really into the Halloween party planning, I'd do quite a bit of my shopping there.
Some of the things I might buy;
Labels for your wine and pop bottles, genious!

Candy jars! Love!


And this little dude, cause he's freakin cute!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Holy no blogging Batman!

I've been MIA for a while. Well I wasn't really missing, I was having an extended arguement with the computer. The blog server wasn't letting me post anymore unless I got Google Chrome, which I did, then there were some wire crossed here or there and it still wasn't working. But I tried again today, after not monkeying around with it for over a month, and lookit! It's working! Everything is way different, so I'm gonna be fiddling with it for a while. I feel like such a hillbilly, using words like 'monkeying' and 'fiddling.' Oh well, the product of my upbringing I suppose. Born and raised in the middle of Michigan, one might actually call me a hillbilly. I've been super busy with all kinds of things. First, keeping up with a toddler. Second, painting a Warhammer 40K army. Third, making 40K jewelry and game counters. Fourth, making baby shower gifts. Fifth, keeping up with a toddler. No, that's not in there twice on accident. On the jewelry front... there's not much to report. I've never ever been happy with my photos, I'm still playing with backgrounds, camera settings, editing software. I don't imagine I'll ever really stop. Here's a couple pics of the latest experimentation. The bracelet with the moth is for me, I'm not selling it. The bracelets might find their way to Etsy at some point.
There's a story behind the box I've used in these pictures. There shall be a blog about it in the near future. When I find the time.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chains and Links - Making it Work

Sometimes when you add the necessary links to your design to hold it all together, the design you were so in love with takes on a completely different feel. Now suddenly it's longer, or there's too much link showing and it's taking away from the pretty stuff. I'm going to share some tips to help with that frustration that I hope you find useful. As well as a couple ways to make links work to your advantage in a pretty way.

My biggest tip is to consider using chain. Most people only see chain for what it is, a chain. But what I see is lots and lots of ity bity jump rings. Some chains are soldered shut, those won't do you any good. But if they open and close like a jump ring, the possibilities are endless! Here I've started off with two chains and a variety of jump rings of different sizes and shapes.

I won't be using all of these links in this tutorial, but I've labeled the ones I will be using. Chain B is super tiny, and opening and closing these ity bity rings takes patience, and it helps to have very fine tipped pliers. You can see how I open and close those with the next picture.

A lot of the time I'll put something together and want to minimize the gap between components, like I have in the next picture. I wanted my three filigree pieces closer together. I experimented for a while to get the perfect sized rings in there, starting with what was previously my smallest jump rings, which here are ring D. When I put three of the D's between the filigree I was left with a large gap. So I tried again with three of the links from chain B. This made them too close together. Finally, I ended up with a combination of the two sizes, where I used size B on the filigree (Which was tricky I won't lie lol) and connected them with size D. This was PERFECT for this design.

When I create extensions for bracelets and necklaces, I like to use the larger loops so the lobster claws can latch onto them easily. I like to have them lay flat for comfort, and if they look cute it's a bonus. Here are two examples of creating your own unique chains, instead of simply using a strand straight off the roll. (Also, often I double the links on bracelets, because they get tugged on so much) For the second example, I left the chain between jump rings two links long, which was just for appearances sake.

These earrings are just a few examples of how you can use jump rings in your designs. The first and second pair have links from chains in them. I use chain links all the time on earrings because it keeps them from being longer than I'd like. For example, the second pair. The gap between brass components is almost impossible to see with such a tiny link in between.
Also the first and third pair have links in them purely for design purposes. Links aren't just functional, they also add personality to your designs.

Links are very useul for attaching crystals and pendants. These crystals can be a fickle thing though.
Link A was perfect for these 11mm crystals. This was one of the links I took from a wide link chain. I'll tell you why the other links I tried didn't work.

Link C is tiny and oval. Unfortunately with ovals you have to be very careful not to break your crystals. This particular oval was too narrow at the points, and if I had tried to force the crystal onto it, the crystal would begin to shard, flake, and eventually the crystal would snap where the hole was drilled.
Link D fit on the crystal perfectly. However, once the link was closed, there was no room to put anything else in there, so to dangle it from something would have been highly difficult, if not impossible.
So for me, with these crystals, I was able to use the links from a chain to attach them instead of the links I had bought from the package.

I hope I've made you think about your links and how they can have a large impact on your design. And I hope I've caused you to view your chains a little differently, and explore all the endless possibilities your chains have to offer!

Friday, March 30, 2012

A little bit about antiquing your metals

There's nothing more romantic than the appearance that age lends to a piece of jewelry. But when you're buying your jewelry components new, they might not have that look that you're going for, and darkening or antiquing is required. I personally don't need to darken my own metals, because I buy them all pre-darkened from

But if you're going the route of making your own dark finish, here's a couple ideas. There are many methods out there, but I'm going to share two of them here.

This first one works on wires in silver and copper. I've never done this with brass filigree, though I think I will experiment with it in the near future. This tutorial was made by Szilviabead on DeviantArt.Com, please visit the original to see the creator's comments.

A hard boiled egg is certainly the lowest cost method I've ever seen. This next method will require that you spend a little money, but it's still a reasonably priced alternative.

You can purchase liver of sulfer in multiple forms, the simple version is to buy the gel, which you can find on Etsy.Com or here at FireMountainGems.Com This form of liver of sulfer is wonderful because you don't have to worry about mixing anything or equalizing the chemical when you're done.

These pictures are the step by step process of how the liver of sulfer gel works on copper wire, these are by Geisha Creations. She buffs the wire with steel wool when it's all done soaking in the liver of sulfer, to get the lovely shine and bring out some of the original color.

Please visit Geisha Creation's Facebook page where the original images are located, here.

Hope you find these tips on applying your own finishes useful!