Showing posts from August, 2014

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. …

Turn Unused Plastic Credit and Gift Cards into Jewelry

Put Your Plastic Trash to Good Use

If a tight budget has turned your credit cards into useless pieces of plastic, don't cut them up and pitch them into a nearby garbage can. They'll be sitting in a landfill for the next thousand years, and that wouldn't be very green of you. Why not get creative and crafty and turn those credit cards into earrings. It's a cool upcycling solution that will save money come gift-giving time. What about gift cards? Gift cards are becoming a plastic problem as well. According to, "The estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high." You and your gift recipients may only be responsible for a few of those 2.6 billion gift cards, but you don't have to be a part of the problem if you collect the used cards and turn them into jewelry.  Making credit/gift card earrings It's easy to get started making upcycled earrings from plastic cards. If you make jewelry…

5 Things You Can Do to Make the Most of Your Art & Craft Show Efforts

Traveling, Loading, Unpacking, Setting Up... And That's Just the Beginning Selling handcrafted jewelry at arts and craft shows is exhausting work. Why not make the most of it? You'll spend days making your creations. On show days, you will load your car, travel to the venue, unload, unpack and set up; and that's just the beginning.  You'll spend hours talking to people, and selling... hopefully. At the end of the day, whether or not you've made a single dollar, you must tear down, pack up and make the long drive home. 1- Kick Your Jewelry Making Creativity up a Notch Your craft show success will be limited until you shift your jewelry making into a higher creative zone. Go beyond simple starter projects. Take a class to learn a new technique. Read information on developing your style. Practice what you already know and push yourself to try new things. If you're already good, challenge yourself to do even better. Don't rush your creativity. If you usually make …

Simplified Metalsmithing Techniques for Fabulous Jewelry

Simple Metal Work Ideas to Add "Wow" to Your Handcrafted Jewelry
Does your handcrafted jewelry shout out, "Wow! Look at me, I'm fabulous!"? If it doesn't, you can change that by changing the way you do things: Stop borrowing designs dreamed up by someone else. Make your own bold clasps, ear wires, and beads instead of relying on manufactured findings. Try a few simplified metalsmithing techniques.

Metalsmithing can be complicated, but it's the best way I know of adding a "wow" factor to your jewelry. I've made it a little easier by simplifying a few metalsmithing techniques so you can master them easily. The tools, cost and time you need depend on your design choices.Suggested ToolsJeweler's saw and bench pin Blades: brands labeled "gold" cost more, but they're easier to work with.Metal files Padded emery files for smoothing Manual punch or drill Metal shears (optional) Hammer Anvil or metal bench block Fine line black mark…

Now Cut That Out! Creating Jewlery with a Jeweler's Saw

If you feel intimidated by the idea of metalwork jewelry, Just remember, it doesn't have to be complicated. You don't have to do lost wax casting, bezel setting or even soldering to create beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces.

You can do that with simple metal fabrication, cutting metal, then smoothing and forming it to add beauty and a bit of your very own style. You can do it with a few very simple techniques. You can learn without an instructorMost beginners need an experienced teacher to get them started; but if you don't have one in your area, you shouldn't let that stop you. It would be easier if you had at least a basic understanding of how to put the saw blade into the frame; but that's the thing about being a beginner, you don't know the basics. Still, you can accomplish anything with instructions, dedication, creative inspiration, and lots of practice.

Why Metalwork?
I've taught many jewelry students basic sawing techniques and encountered a ton of colorf…

Yahoo Voices is Gone, but my Craft Articles Live On

The Yahoo site has been extinguished, all ownership rights for my content have now reverted to me, so you might have noticed that I'm beginning to relocate some of my Yahoo favorites to my blogs.

Over the past few years, I've written a lot of jewelry making and craft articles for Associated Contend, and then Yahoo when they bought the site. I was a Yahoo Featured Contributor for Crafts and other Specialties, so many of my DIY articles have been a part of the Yahoo Content site,

I'm disappointed that the site has ended, but I'm happy to share these articles once again.


Make a Simple Wire Collar that Goes with Everything

Creative ladies know that one of the smartest ways to stretch their fashion dollar is to make accessories that go with everything. That's what this simple collar does. You create it from wire. When you're done, you'll have a piece of jewelry that can be jazzy, artsy, funky, cool or whatever you choose. All you'll have to do is add the dangly thing of your choice.

The material list for your collar is simple as well. You need wire and that's it, and you won't have to spend all day making it. If you're a crafty lady who is even slightly handy with jewelry-making tools, your collar should take no longer than 30 minutes from start to finish.

Wire cutters Pliers Round nose pliers Hammer and block/anvil Small metal file Small coffee can for shaping Black felt tip marker Materials

16 gauge Wire of your choice - If you love silver, you already know that sterling prices went through the roof a few years back; and they've yet to come down. Why …

Make a Bold Shell Frangia Necklace You Can Wear All Year Long

When I teach wire-work jewelry classes, I try to keep my instructions simple and easy, even for a wild and bold-lady-on-the-beach necklace like this. I admit, this piece does look a little complicated, but anyone can make it when the DIY is broken down step-by-step. It's simple. First you create the parts, then you put them together.'s English/Italian dictionary says frangia is Italian for fringe. It's the bold, free-form shell frangia/fringe beads that make this necklace a little wild yet perfect for summertime. When it gets a bit colder outside, the bold style will dress up even the darkest turtleneck. All you'll need to create one for yourself is 7 beads, jump rings and some 16 and 20 gauge wire. If you're into wire-working, you probably have the wire already. Depending on the price of your beads, your frangia necklace could cost $5 to $10 in materials. It will take at least an hour or two to make. Perhaps you can do a little of the work today …