Showing posts from 2014

Wire Jewelry Making: Tree Thee For Christmas

Don't just deck the halls this Christmas. Create a piece of wire jewelry that lets you take a bit of holiday cheer wherever you go. Make a wire Christmas tree pin. Wear it on your sweater, coat, scarf or hat for a unique holiday touch that's bold and creative too.
Creating your own bold wire Christmas tree pin is pretty simple. Once you get the hang of it, you'll want to make a Christmas tree pin for every friend on your Christmas list.
Tools Pliers Round-nosed pliers Wire cutters Files or sandpaper (Try cushioned emery files) A hammer and anvil or block (Optional)
Materials 16 Gauge Wire If you are already creating wire jewelry, use precious metals if that's what you prefer. If you don't have much experience working with wire, try experimenting with copper wire until you get the hang of the technique. Switch to more expensive metals, like sterling silver or gold filled, once you feel comfortable.
Cut Your Wire Cut a 12 inch piece of 16 gauge wire. If you're using sterling …

Create an Elegant Bracelet with Simple Wire Shapes

Even if you've got more time than talent, you can still make elegant bracelets. it's easy if you take the time to learn how to make a few simple shapes.

What if you're in a creative mood and want to craft something beautiful, but you don't have all day to do it. Try making a handcrafted bracelet with simple wire shapes. 

That's the beauty of wire jewelry making. Once you learn to craft a few basic shapes, you can mix and match them into a variety of combinations.

The result can be a pair of earrings, a unique necklace or a simple, elegant bracelet like the one in the above photo. 

Best of all, your handcrafted creations will look as though they took hours to make. Only you will know how quick and easy they were.

Create your  bracelet by following a simple pattern of figure 8 and S shapes. 

You can make your own bracelet with wire swirls, circles, triangles or whatever shapes you choose. 

The common elements are the figure 8s that hold the wire shapes together. (Those wond…

Friendly Plastic Jewelry?... Welcome Back

A few years ago when I was in New Orleans, I met a guy at an open air market selling Friendly Plastic jewelry. I can't remember the name of the market, but it was on one of NOLA's main streets. I remember that the guy called himself Oscar of New Orleans and he had a booth filled with the stuff. It was actually pretty cool.

I was fascinated. I hadn't seen Friendly Plastic since the 90s before wire took over as the trendy jewelry medium of choice. I wasn't necessarily a big Friendly Plastic fan back then--frankly, I couldn't figure out what to do with it--but I knew a lot of people who considered it their go-to material. I piddled around with it a little before moving on to wire and metal.

I tried to find some

After I returned from New Orleans, I looked for Friendly Plastic everywhere. I figured if Oscar had that much Friendly Plastic Jewelry it must be coming back, so the crafts stores must have it in stock.

At the time I was a Featured Crafts Contributor for Yahoo Cont…

Bungee Cord Bracelets: Jewelry That's Colorful, Fun & Easy!

Use craft store findings or make your own There's nothing like a little color and fun to spice up a wardrobe. That's what these bungee cord bracelets will do for you. I was inspired by bungee cord bracelets I saw in a magazine. Those cost around $20; but like most crafty people do, I said to myself, "I can make these."

I pitched my magazine to the side, and I pulled out a few not-so-worn bungee cords. Yes, I keep bungee cords. Doesn't everyone?

Using the bungees, wire and glue I had on hand, I created my own version of a bungee bracelet without spending a dime.
Of course, I wanted more options; so I bought a few craft store findings and some twisted satin cord from the fabric store.
Even if you have to buy supplies, your bungee bracelets should cost less than $6 each, and you can make one in about 25 minutes or less.

Bungee cords - Buy a multi-color pack from a dollar store and save money. Glue - I like E600 because it glues anything to anything. If you don&#…

Teaching a Groupon Jewelry-Making Class

As a jewelry-making instructor, my Groupon experience was a little bit different from the experience that a restaurant, store or other small business might have. I wasn't a restaurant, so I didn't have to cook up enough entrees to accommodate a one-day Groupon onslaught. I wasn't a retailer, so I didn't have to take a loss on Groupon-discounted store inventory.

I'm a jewelry instructor. And as with all Groupon promotions, my class fees were deeply discounted. My earnings generated only a small boost in my personal finances, but in a slow economy every little bit counts.

My Groupon "Deal" 

My Groupon deal was 10 weeks of advanced wire jewelry making classes for a ridiculously low fee. I'd developed the wire techniques and taught them for years; so, fortunately, they didn't require a lot of preparation. The classes were actually fun and I got to know some talented women I wouldn't have met otherwise. Some scheduled future non-Groupon classes. …

Step Away From the News!: Keep the Creative Juices Flowing

If you realized how reading the newspaper front page to back and watching the news every day can crush your creative spirit one sound bite at a time, maybe you would step away from it and do something more make jewelry.

Gloom, despair, and agony on me
When I taught jewelry-making classes in the inner city, I once had a student--I'll call her Millie--who had difficulty learning even the simplest jewelry making techniques. She was a little nervous, all the time, I realized. She worried about her kids, her grandkids, her stomach her knees. Even her voice had a weary quality to it, you know, 'Gloom, despair and agony on me...."

One day I was sitting with Millie before class started, the first time outside of class where we'd had a chance to talk one-on-one. She started telling me about the murder two blocks away the night before and the one across town two days ago.

Millie knew the daily death toll in the Gulf war And it wasn't just about the inner city. …