Showing posts from 2010

Handcrafted Jewelry Lovers In Heaven

Kirpal, my former jewelry student, died recently at age 89. She was a retired teacher getting on in years, yet determined to live life to the fullest. She refused to sit and do nothing; and that's how she wound up in my jewelry class.

Kirpal was beautiful, elegantly silver-haired; and like many traditional women of India, she wore beautiful silken pants and tunics and long flowing scarves. Kirpal was creative, lively and she loved to dance. She was everything I hope to be when I'm 89.

And she loved to make jewelry. Of course, I could never get her to use a blowtorch or a jeweler's saw, but she could bend, curl and swirl wire with the best of them.

Young In Spirit 

For over 8 years Kirpal was the senior member of my group, but in spirit, drive and sheer determination, she was younger than any student in my class.

At 89, hands were frail. Sometimes they would ache or she would tire, but she never quit. While younger members of the class might complain about a new jewelry…

No eBay This Year - Handcrafted Karma

No eBay This Year
It's the middle of the Fall Arts and Craft show season. This time last year I was knee deep in eBay activities. You know the drill: making jewelry, taking pictures of it, writing listings, watching the auctions,  getting the order details right, packing it up, printing the label and getting it to the post office before they shut the door in your face. whew!!

No Arts and Craft Shows Either
I'm not doing eBay this year and I'm not doing a fall schedule of Arts and Craft shows either. It's been so long since I've done shows on a regular basis, I'm not on anybody's mailing list any more.

You'd think that wouldn't be a problem in light of applications like Zapplication, the online art show submission process for this millennium instead of the last; but most of the shows I used to do don't use that service.

Handcrafted Karma

My stuff is just sitting on Etsy waiting to be found. .. well not the stuff, actually... just pictures of the…

How To Make Basic Wire Jewelry

If you are new to wire jewelry making you need beginner's instructions, but there just doesn't seem to be enough information out there.

I'm guilty too. My jewelry making articles talk about twisting and turning and weaving wire. I do things for the beginner, but not the real wire jewelry novice. I've tried to remedy that with a variety of jewelry tutorials on my blog.

So visit the posts listed below for beginner's tips and techniques. And spend some time on my blog for interesting jewelry-related content.

Of course, some of my posts are just jewelry-maker rants and philosophy, but those are fun too.

Beginner's Jewelry Making

Which Wire Should I Use?

3 Simple Wire-Working Jewelry Making Secrets

Playing With Wire

Build a Bracelet With Your Own Creative Style

A Day Without Headpins

Carol, The Nice Lady

I'm Quite the Crafty Writer!

I'm Quite Crafty!
Did I ever mention that I write crafts articles for Associated , and a few other sites; but my work with AC.... now a part of the Yahoo! network, is the most challenging these days. At AC I have an actual title: Featured Crafts... or is it Crafting Contributor.

Yes, I'm one of a few AC Featured Crafting Contributors. That means I write at least 3 new craft titles each month......which shouldn't be difficult at all. I'm quite crafty!

My crafting days began with those sweet little cut and paste Vacation Bible School Crafts. I went on to drawing and painting in high school. As an adult I wore a corporate suit everyday and crafted nights and weekends. Talk about multi-tasking!

I've tried my crafty hand at everything from wedding cakes to banners and hand painted tees. Can you believe I used to paint the Cincinnati Skyline freehand on black tee shirts and sell them for 10 bucks at craft shows?

Thank Goodness For Gladys Knight

From Bullets to Jewelry - The Ultimate in Upcycling

I Will Not Complain!
From this day forward, I will not whine nor will I utter a word of complaint when I run out of sterling silver or copper or even beads when I'm making jewelry. I will not get sad when I've broken my last jeweler's saw blade. I will not complain at all. Why, you ask?

I just read a CNN.COM article and saw a slideshow about a teenager in Ghana who makes jewelry out of bullets.... yes, bullets. She creates the ultimate upcycled jewelry, taking what she finds... which happens to be spent shell casings, and she crafts wonderful jewelry apparently collected and worn by folks like Angelina Jolie and Hallie Berry.

Lovetta Conto is a native of Liberia who fled her country due to civil war and spent her formative years in a Ghana refugee camp with 47000 other refugees..... It seems the only thing easy to come by in Lovetta's life was bullets. You gotta love the spirit of taking lemons and making lemonade.... or should I say taking bullets and making jewelry...…

Upcycled Jewelry - Create a Bracelet With Colorful, Quirky "Green" Style

Got Plastic!

Have you ever really looked at a plastic shampoo bottle? The colors are so deep and rich, so pretty it's hard to throw them away or even recycle them. You don't have to if you make them into jewelry...

I won't bore you with talk of green lives and landfills. But I promise if you follow these simple instructions, you can turn some of that pretty plastic into a colorful, fun and quirky bracelet. Your non-crafty friends will be so inspired by your eco-friendly jewelry style, they'll want upcycled jewelry too. They might even make it themselves.
Tools PliersSturdy scissorsHole punching tool: sturdy paper punch (office supply or craft store), precision punch ( or or hand drill (about 3 dollars at craft stores)

Materials Colorful Plastic: bottles, used credit or gift cards, coffee can lids, etc.25 to 30 Base metal jump rings or spring rings from a craft store like Michael's.Wire for trim (Optional)Fine line markerBracelet length ch…

A Tip of the Hat While I Wait for Jewelry Inspiration

I haven't blogged in a while...

I would like to say it's because I have been hard at work, fashioning wire and metal and beads into beautiful jewelry creations, but I haven't.

I've done a bit of that, mind you, just not as much as I should... Inspiration comes when it comes... and mine doesn't come as often as it used to.. which means the money I get from selling my jewelry comes when it feels like it....... Oh! That's why they call us Starving Artists!

In the meantime, I'm writing. Here's a link to my most recent article about transforming a straw hat from drab to beautiful....

Craft a New Summertime Look for Your Old Straw Hat

It's not jewelry, but you have to admit, it's Crafty!!

I'm Using Both Sides of my Brain Today

Today I'm wearing the hats of both writer and jewelry creator or should I say the brains? My day's task is indeed a ticklish juggle, an uncomfortable mix of right brain creativity and left brain analytical skills; but that's what happens when I'm writing a jewelry how-to. I create a piece and write about it as I'm doing it..... and then I take pictures.... It's a miracle I ever finish an article at all.

I've been writing jewelry DIY articles for years; the whole thing should come easily to me. But when I taught classes, the instructions I wrote could be simple because I was standing right there. If anyone had a question they yelled it out and I answered it.

Writing articles for online sites takes a bit more writing savvy. As I write I must put myself in the other person's shoes... or brain I suppose, and decide.. if I didn't know what I was doing, could I figure it out by reading what I just wrote?

It's exhausting duality, playing all those role…

Celebrating My Broken Fingernails

Who Needs Long Nails? Not Me!
These past few months my nails have been long, well not exactly long but long.... er.... than they've been in years. Now they're all broken, which is not exactly a bad thing. In fact I celebrate my broken nails!

Broken fingernails means I'm cutting metal, and bending, swirling and twirling wire again with artistic abandon! I got inspired last week, it jump-started my creativity; and I've been creating jewelry ever since. Not a lot. Nothing really fabulous or time intensive. I'm doing wire-work mostly; but wouldn't you agree that's a start.

Not that I've been sitting like a bump on a log doing nothing at all. I make jewelry, but I write about making jewelry as well, on Associated Content, and a few other sites. I kept writing even when my fingers refused to pick up my pliers, like this article I wrote last week on making A Wire Bracelet Even a Grandma Could Love  And writing doesn't break my fingernails... not unless I&…

Behind in my Jewelry Making But Ahead of You!!

I Should be Making Jewelry, But....
I'm so excited!

I was the third person to sign up to follow the Gladys Knight Jewelry Collection Blog. That's what I mean when I say I'm ahead of you. (I bet you didn't know she had a blog!) Well at least I'm ahead on something. For instance, I am supposed to be making jewelry right now.... but I'm blogging.

I hadn't thought of Gladys Knight in a while... Oh, I know the words to most of her songs, they've been part of my lifelong soundtrack. I sing along each and every time I hear Gladys sing, whether in public or in private, whether it's a good idea or not.

My respect for her as a successful black woman is renewed each time I see her on TV. But until a friend gave me a ticket to a Gospel concert where she was the director of the amazing Saints Unified Voices choir, I must admit I wasn't thinking about her...Not at all. I'm having a hard enough time keeping my mind on making jewerly.

After that con…

Gladys Knight has Her Own Jewelry Line

If you didn't know, let me be the first to tell you. Gladys Knight... you know, "Midnight Train to Georgia."..... that Gladys Knight, has a jewelry line. It's handcrafted, but no, she doesn't make it herself. It's created with semi precious stones and handcrafted beads created by West African artisans.

Gladys Knight Jewelry is so new, it's not even available yet. It will make it's debut at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, July 2 -4. And, according to her website,  if you are one of her few lucky contest winners, you will have the opportunity to meet the diva herself..... that is if you're in New Orleans this July.

For nearly a decade I worked with a group of inner city women at a Cincinnati ministry called Sarah Center. I taught them jewelry making skills and helped them earn money from the jewelry they made. What impresses me about Gladys Knight is that her jewelry program is similar to Sarah Center's cooperative-s…
Hey Mom, Look what I did!

I haven't been in the mood to create jewelry for a while now. That doesn't mean I'm not still twisting and coiling and hammering wire. I'm not shipping orders either, but I did find a way to use tissue and packing tape. (I can be really resourceful sometimes) If I can get the technical part right, I'm going to upload a few pictures to let you see what I've been doing.
In case you can't figure it out, it's a Mother's Day card. I made it with a few reused bits of paper and adorned those with some of the wire work I should be doing for earrings and bracelets and things like that. I formed "Mom" with wire, added it to a wide piece of clear packaging tape, then taped it to a piece of metallic ribbon and that gaudy, yet endearing, animal-striped paper. I mounted all of this on a blank card, and voila!!  a Mothers Day card like no other! Here's another one.

For this one, I reused a pretty paper bag, leftover tis…

A Creative Hiatus

As a jewelry artist, you never stop creating. Even if your fingers aren't twisting and bending metal or fooling around with pretty beads, your head is drifting off to the next thing. So with my head still on the job, I don't feel so bad because I haven't created jewelry for nearly two weeks now.

I write as well; and that's where my fingers have been these days... banging on the keyboard like nobody's business. Off course, even as I type these few words, I can see my hammer and anvil within reach. They will call to me each and every day until I can't resist any longer and give in to that creative pull.

In the meantime, I'm on a creative hiatus. And I'm okay with that.
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Ebay Monday

For those of you "doing eBay," you may know that listing your handcrafted jewelry, as much time and effort as that takes, is only the beginning. You must first get those thousands of eBay surfers to notice your jewelry (easier said than done) then hope they place bids on your lovely jewelry, you are on the clock indeed.

You must follow the auction, check back to see if any customer has a question. By the way, a customer can post a question right there on your listing for all to see; and if you miss one day, there is bound to be a sticky, trick question you didn't address in time.

Once you get that first eBay bid, you must wait for the duration of the auction, make note of the winner (Hope enough people have found your auction to get into a round of lively bidding) pack your order, wrap it, then ship it by the time you said you would; otherwise you are destined for the dreaded ..... Negative Feedback.

Just in case you didn't know, a feedback rating is the eBay b…

Handcrafted Jewelry "Simple Hearts"

As a jewelry artist, you don't have to go the complicated route to create wearable art. As with "Simple Hearts," you can use basic wire-working skills to bring to life beautiful, whimsical or even funky-artsy earrings. It's a simple process: Learn a few basic techniques Practice by playing with the wire until you become comfortable enough to feel in control Let your imagination carry you away.Learn to create these simple wire hearts and you can use them as charms in bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. You need only basic tools: pliers, cutters, and round-nosed pliers to transform wire into a pair of whimsical hearts for simple earrings or charms for all of your jewelry pieces.

Materials: To create your "Simple Hearts," you need wire. Choose sterling silver, copper, gold-filled or whatever wire you prefer. You will need:
12 inches of 18 gauge wire1 pair or ear-wires
Cut Your wire 2- 4 inch 18 gauge pieces for the heart shape.4- 1 inch 18 gauge lengths for figure…

Creative Block - Too Busy To Create

Aaaahhh creative block, my old friend.

Sometimes you just don't feel that .... artsy thing that allows you to create beauty day after day. But if you sell handcrafted jewelry on line or have a big art show or or craft show coming up sooner than you care to imagine, you simply have no choice.

So you make promises. You will get up at 5 AM on Monday morning. You will make fivc pairs of earrings, two bracelets and one necklace each day for five days straight. And you might actually rise at the designated time, but after you shower, brush your teeth and comb your hair, you may just decide your'e too lovely (or too handsome) to stay in and make things.

Or perhaps it's your home that gets to you, all that artistic messiness every where you look; so you clean the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. No one can fault you for wanting a shiny kitchen. Then you wash the windows to a streakless shine and your entire house to ultimate spotlessess. Of course, in this Stepford housewif…
Here's something a little different. It's not jewelry, but it is quite creative.


10 Blowtorch Safety Tips for Jewelry-Makers

If you have recently graduated from simple beading and wire-work to metalwork, you probably found the transition a bit scary. After all, you've moved from pliers and cutters to far more intimidating devices. Metalwork requires the mastery of handsaws, rotary tools, drills, buffers, polishers and other power-driven implements. Each of these tools has the ability to produce an injury in the blink of an eye, but a blowtorch usually generates the most anxiety. If you are learning to solder metal pieces together, you may already have your first blowtorch. It's the one tool most of my students find intimidating; but with a few safety tips, learning the soldering process can go smoothly.

Blowtorch Virgins
When I start teaching a metal class series with students who have never used a blowtorch before, we must gradually work our way up to the part where I ask them to light a torch for the first time. I spend several days of class time getting them comfortable with the newness of working w…

Crafting Jewelry in the Inner City

Jewelry-making inspires creativity and uplifts self-esteem

Most of the women in Sarah Center's jewelry-making program didn't come to the Cincinnati women’s ministry to learn jewelry making skills. They came for food, clothing, and other available financial assistance. But Sister Jeanette wanted to offer them more.
She organized ballet, opera, and theater outings. She planned teas, luncheons and ice cream socials. She arranged quilting and painting classes and a jewelry program that changed their lives.
Accidental Jewelry Making

Some of the women tried making jewelry because they were referred by a local agency and felt they had to. Others were encouraged to sit in on classes while they waited for word on a request for emergency services.
While some women never came back after their first lesson, others continued to attend classes because no one else had ever encouraged them to create beautiful things. Many found they had a flair for making jewelry and as the jewelry craft progra…