October 31, 2007

Cell Phone Charms

I have never been a girly, girl that has to have lots of accessories. In fact, when I first saw cell phone charms I thought, "Who would ever have that on their phone?" Well guess who has a cell phone charm? That's right - I do! I have one with a small picture frame dangling from it. It doesn't have a picture of my two boys in it, they would be mortified, it has my two girls - Emma and Stormy, my cats. It's a great way to add just a little personalized touch, for not a lot of money, to something that has become a necessity in today's world.

Here are some that I made and have for sale in my Etsy

Just click on the photo if you would like a better look.

October 25, 2007

Lifesaver Earrings

I made these earrings from copper wire and some small glass green donuts that I found at a bead shop. I thought they looked like green Lifesavers - they're about the same size. After the earrings were made I added a patina to the copper so the green glass would stand out even more.

October 20, 2007

More Bead Crochet

I just listed another bead crochet bracelet in my Etsy shop. Just click on the picture and it will bring you right to the listing.

What makes this bracelet unique is its creation. Although it appears to be made from different colored beads, it is made from clear hexagonal shaped seed beads. The rainbow effect is created by using rainbow thread. As you crochet, the thread color changes giving the finished bracelet a rainbow appearance. This was the first time I used this thread and it certainly won't be the last.

October 15, 2007

My First Treasury

For those of you not familiar with Etsy, the Treasury is a collection made by Etsy member of their favorite things. It is on display in the Treasury section from 2 to 3 days. People can view the Treasuries and leave comments if they wish. If you are a seller and are chosen to be in someone's Treasury it usually means more exposure for your item and shop. If you are the person creating the Treasury it means fun!

A Treasury sometimes hard to come by. The Treasury must drop below 222 and you have to be on the Treasury list page and ready when one becomes available. I learned through the forums that while you are waiting for a Treasury you DO NOT REFRESH your page. You just have to sit and wait for that elusive box to show up. When the box shows up on the bottom of the page you click in it and it saves your spot. Then you go about naming and creating your Treasury.

Sunday as I was on the Treasury list page I noticed that a lot were expired and they would become available soon. I figured, it's worth a try. I never tried before because I thought there was some special trick to getting one. But, I sat and waited and sure enough the box signaling that a Treasury was available showed up. Talk about exciting! Right as I clicked I noticed the time and had to go pick up my boys from Sunday school so my Treasury didn't get up and going for about an hour.

The title of my Treasury is Are You Swanky? and it features items from an Etsy group I belong to called Designing Swanky Moms. I wanted a uniform look so I tried to have all the items I chose in the yellow family or containing some yellow. Below is a screenshot of my creation.

October 13, 2007

Finally, A Sunny Day!

It has been cloudy and rainy here in Northwestern New Jersey for the past 2 days. We definitely needed the rain, but I had a bracelet that I was waiting to photograph for my Etsy Shop. I really need to learn how to take my pictures using artificial light since winter, with its cloudy days and limited hours of sunshine, is on its way.

This is what I was waiting to photograph.

I seem to go through phases as to what I am in the mood to create. Lately it has been bead crochet although, tonight I have a new project in mind that I am going to give a try. If it works out I will be posting it here soon.

October 9, 2007

Bead Crochet

I started doing bead crochet about 2 years ago with no knowledge of how to crochet at all. My mother, who was very crafty, tried to teach my on many occasions, but I was never really interested. So, when I decided I wanted to learn bead crochet - off to the wonderful worldwide web I did go. And I found tons of information. The website that helped me the most was Ann Benson's online
tutorial .It's animated, very clear and easy to follow. She also has a great book with many great ideas for anyone interested in bead crochet. It is called Bead Crochet Designs .

Another great source for tips is Beadwrangler's Site. Lots of great tips on bead crochet and crochet in general.

Last, but not least, I gathered a great deal of information on the forum at Beadwork at About.com.

One of my favorite things about bead crochet is that because you string all your beads before you begin, it travels very well. I just throw it all in a bag and go.

October 6, 2007

Cutting Jumprings

I love making chainmaille jewelry which takes hundreds and hundreds of jumprings. I cut my own rings so that when I decide to make something, I don't have to order and then wait impatiently for my rings to arrive. I can wind, cut and create. Some people find the process tedious, but I really don't mind.

First I start with some wire.

Then I choose the size mandrel I need. I use knitting needles for mandrels.

The next thing I do is insert the mandrel and wire in my drill. I make sure they are in the chuck nice and secure and then I ever so gently press the drill trigger while guiding the wire with my left thumb and index finger. I use extreme caution as the wire comes to an end. It is very painful if the end of the wire goes through your fingers. (Yes, I speak from experience).

And this is what I end up with - a coil of wire.

I then saw the coil apart using my trusty jeweler's saw - which has a blade as thin as a hair. It is very important to keep the blade lubricated so that it doesn't break. I use beeswax for this.

TA-DA!! The sawing is done and I end up with a pile of rings. Ready to create.

October 5, 2007

Blogs I Enjoy

I am spending my time today visiting blogs I have bookmarked and adding links to my list. Most of them will be craft/creating related. If this is the kind of thing that interests you, please have a look or if you have a blog that you think fits that description please leave a comment and I will try to include you.

October 2, 2007

Patina Copper with Egg

I do a lot of work in copper and I go back and forth between liking it most in its natural shiny state and adding a patina to it so it looks darker and aged. There are examples in the photo to the right of the copper both ways.

A lot of artists use liver of sulphur to add patina, but I don't have a source close by and I really didn't want the odor and fumes in my house. I don't have a separate shop with a ventilation system so I looked into alternative methods. After much research and discussion on various forums I decided to give the egg method a try.

Hard boil and egg and while it is still warm, cut it in a couple of pieces and put it in an airtight container with your item. I have read people stating to not let the egg touch the item, but my egg and item always get jumbled together and I never found it to be a problem. In fact, when I was using the egg method on this bracelet
I squished the egg and mashed it into the bracelet. This bracelet has a very tight weave and just leaving it sitting with the egg wasn't working very well. I use a ziploc bag to do this so I can keep moving and turning the item to get good coverage.

Having never used liver of sulphur, I can't be sure, but I believe that this method takes quite a bit longer. In fact, most of my pieces get left in the egg overnight.

All the copper in my Etsy shop, so far, has been left shiny. I do indicate in the descriptions that it will darken on its own over time, but maybe it would sell better if I added the patina. What do you think? Any opinions on copper bright verus darkened?

October 1, 2007

Designing Swanky Moms

I just joined a group on the ning network called Designing Swanky Moms. It is a group for moms (obviously) who design things, be it jewelry, clothing, cards, soaps, candles, etc. You get the idea. If you would like to join us, please go to http://www.swankymoms.ning.com/. You don't have to belong to Etsy to join or even have a website, just a love of creating.

Visit SwankyMoms

When shopping on Etsy if you would like to see some of the beautiful work that the Swanky Moms do, just type DSM into your search.

The Swanky Moms were featured in an Etsy treasury as you can see below. Please forgive me, but it is the first time I have done a screenshot and had to cut and paste to get the whole thing in there.