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!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Peacock Tres Chic is back!

The time has come for Peacock Tres Chic to open back up for business! The Etsy shop is back up and running, I'll be listing new items daily. I'm very excited about the new stuff, most of it is entirely new to me, I went out of my way to buy materials I've never worked with before. I used some materials as a crutch, and used them again and again. I've widened my scope to new stampings and crystals, and I love playing with new techniques.

Here are some of the new pieces you'll find at Peacock Tres Chic.

Rapunzel's Song

Briar Rose

An Extravagant Entrance

Briar Thorns in Amethyst


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy national craft month!

March 1st marks the beginning of national craft month, which I think is spectacular. I love that crafting is so widely recognized and celebrated. There are lots of good things going on this month.
JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts stores have a flyer this month just exploding with coupons for their coupon commotion. If you don't get them sent to your home, you can sign up on JoAnn's website, or in stores.

Also is hosting a 30 day bead challenge, which I am participating in. I'm looking forward to challenging myself, learning new things, and testing my determination to start and finish something lol You can get a list of the 30 day challenge here at They have a PDF that you can download and print out, and they encourage you to share your daily challenges on their Facebook Page here. You'll be seeing my stuff there, though I might not get around to posting it every single day. I'm a very busy mommy these days.

Day 1: Make earrings.

In other news Peacock Tres Chic on Etsy will be closed down for a short time while I prepare the total makeover. Look for new items in the next couple weeks!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Last Chance

Peacock Tres Chic is closing on March 1st to prepare for the re-opening.

Last three days to get 40% off everything currently at Peacock Tres Chic! Last chance to get these items, all new stuff will be arriving in March. You won't see these designs again!

Use coupon code LAST3DAYS at checkout to get 40% off!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tinker's Folly...

...or rather, my dad's music =)(Dave Leonard)

There are a couple songs, Gypsy Laddie and Captain Jack, that have me and a friend of mine singing backup.
If you're interested =)

Find more music like this on Woody's Music Network

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tutorial: getting rid of those pesky loops and using files

Click on the pictures to see the details!
Most of the settings I use for my crystals and cabochons come with one, and sometimes two, loops on them. Though you can leave these on if you don't intend to use it to connect something, I personally think it looks cleaner if they're taken off. I don't just snip them off, I file down what I call the 'bur' that the metal leaves behind. It gives it a nice finishing touch, that most people won't even notice, but I know I did everything I could to make it perfect.
I use a set of files that are used for modeling gaming miniatures, but they're the same thing as jeweler's files. Mine came from a gaming store, but you can find them online at jewelry supply websites, like these ones from Fire Mountain Gems.

Getting rid of the loop
You can get rid of the loop any way you'd like, you can cut it with flush cutters, or you can bend it off. Using flat nose or chain nose pliers, you can bend the loop up and down a few times and the metal will break at the bend. I prefer this method, I get straighter, more flush cuts.
Note: I have an old beat up pair of flush cutters I use for things like this, so you don't risk knicking up your good wire cutters.
I'm starting with this oval setting, with one loop.

File the bur
I've taken the loop off, but you can see in the picture that there is a metal bur left behind. You can leave it like that, or for that polished look you can file it down. I use the flat file for this. I rarely ever use the round file, but it does come in handy occasionally.
In this next picture you can see how nice and smooth it gets when you file it. You can even get it so you'd never even know there was ever a loop there.

Note:Probably want to do the snipping and filing before the piece is used. I used this green gem, thinking I was going to use the loop and dangle something from the bottom. I decided I didn't like it, and proceeded to take the loop off. It's much harder to file it down once it's in a piece, even something as simple as this one. And you risk marring up the metals around it with your file. Always cut and file first, if you can.

This is just another example of what the bur can look like if it's not filed down once you remove it.

An example of how nice it can look finished.

Other reasons to dig out the files
A lot of the time, I disassemble filigree and stampings and only use the pieces I want. Any place you take the metal apart, there will be burs. Some of them can be pretty nasty, and can scratch skin and catch on clothes. I make sure all of the burs are filed down so it doesn't hurt the skin.
Note: Most of the metals I use have an oxidized finish, or a sterling finish. Any place you file will wear away the finish. The color underneath will show through, most of the time this will be the natural brass. (It's bright gold) You'll want to consider how this look will effect your piece. A lot of the time you can file it on the back and not so much on the front, or you can cover it up with other pieces of the necklace.
This isn't the greatest picture, but you can see the burs before, and the brass showing through after I filed it.

Some notes about filing metals -recap-
*When you file metals like these brass components, you'll get metal shavings, as fine as dust. You can see this metal dust on my fingers in some of the pictures. You can wear glasses, or a mask, if this concerns you. I am careful not to do it around my one year old son.
*Filing the metal will remove whatever finish is on it. The natural brass will show through, this is a bright gold, so make sure this doesn't ruin your design. A lot of the time, you can hide it, or if you have minimum filing to do, it might not be noticeable.
*Sometimes this type of thing can be rough on flush cutters, you can keep an old beat up pair around for these cases.
*Snip and file before construction, you'll thank yourself later.
*It's possible that the exposed brass from the filing, the raw brass with no finish, can turn skin green. I like to make sure that the part I file off isn't in direct contact with skin when it's worn.

These are examples of some of the necklaces I've made in the past using these techniques, removing the loops.
This necklace features a flat setting that once had a decorative loop at the top for hanging. I removed the loop, and used it as a simple bezel setting.

Removing the loop asn't essential for this piece, because I was covering it up, but I didn't want it in there so I removed it anyway.

I used a three way connector at the top of this piece, but removed all three loops.

All the settings and filigree used in this tutorial are from Vintage Jewelry Supplies.
Thanks for reading, I hope you learned something helpful!!!