Saturday, September 13, 2014

Silver (Pewter) Vintaj Blanks - part 1

I made a pair of earrings with the silver Vintaj blanks this past winter.  And I wore them a ton.  Very pretty.  I love the Vintaj etched look and that I can create my own designs and that they are in silver (which I prefer to wear).  But I found some things that needs to be worked around when making silver Vintaj embossed or etched earrings, or pendants.  I call them silver, but the Vintaj blanks are actually made with pewter. 
***A good pair - front and back.

First, the silver/pewter blanks are really thick (compared to the brass and copper blanks).  Although I haven't measured them, the copper and brass blanks seem to behave similarly.  I have not attempted any embossing with the silver/pewter blanks.  

The embossing folders for the Vintaj Big Kick are metal inside a plastic sleeve.

After using a non-Vintaj brass blank, that felt the same thickness as the Vintaj ones - this happened (below) to an embossing folder.    I can only imagine what the thick silver blank would do. 
 *They look and feel like the same thickness and both companies say they are 24 gauge.

The etching folders are what feels like a piece of heavy duty felt - one-sided.  So, when you etch with them, the plastic sheets that go into the Vintaj Big Kick machine get imprinted as well.  The instructions clearly say to lay the etching piece down with the blank and put the clear plastic sheet on it with no protective barrier. 
This etched plastic sheet then transfers to the back of the silver blank that I am working with. 
*See the skinny lines - they are not supposed to be there.

So I have to constantly move the etching piece with silver blank around so that it is on a clear part of the plastic.  And then, basically all of the plastic sheets are getting imprinted all over. 

(This does not affect the embossing because the blank goes between 2 pieces of metal and then in between the plastic sheets).
As you can see, the silver blanks also make a pretty good indention in the etching piece - which can be good if you are making earring pairs, so you can get exactly the same image on both pieces but not so good if you want to make a different image on the same etching piece or use a different size blank with the same image.

When making the silver blanks, you also have to be careful of where the hole in the top of the blank is placed.  The earrings that I made in January have some etching surrounding the hole in the top of the blank.  This basically weakens the metal and eventually the earrings broke.  Whoops!
These are just my experiences.  Maybe someone more expert with these materials would have better or different experiences with these.  And even with these caveats, I keep plugging away with the Vintaj BigKick and the pewter blanks because they are fun to work with and I like the outcome.

Has anyone else worked a lot with these pewter blanks and had similar experiences or better experiences? 

Monday, September 8, 2014

New Storefront Look

I'm trying something new for the storefront look (on Etsy).  I've noticed other shops where items are grouped by color - and it just seems so pleasing to the eye.  So the items below were recently listed - see the silver color scheme?  By the way, I love labradorite -  the color is just so rock on cool with the iridescent blue and little flecks in the almost see-through grey. 

What do you think?  Do you notice more people perusing your shop if you post with some sort of theme?  I tend to make all different kinds of jewelry, so I think this makes it look a little more cohesive.

 I am trying to include a screenshot of the storefront, but blogger won't save the post with a screen shot.  You'll have to go my etsy shop to see what I'm talking about and 
-- here are some pictures of new items ......

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back to work.

I've put my Etsy shop on hold for awhile due to taking care of other family stuff and spreading myself a little thin with volunteering.

But not now - I've started listing some more items.  Yeah!!  Some items that have been sitting on the beading desk for awhile and many, many more that are new!  I'm so excited about some of the designs.  I've had lots of ideas in my head, and on paper.  And to see which ones actually work in person is very exciting.  Sometimes I have to figure out how to get the clasp connected well or how to make it stronger  - especially bracelets.  I tend to be hard on my bracelets - doing too much with too nice of jewelry on - so I try to make bracelets unbreakable. 

And some new earrings!  (For myself and for the store).  I don't know how other jewelry designers make so many different designs for their shops and not keep the jewelry themselves!  

I'm trying to list a few items daily to keep my items in front and center on Etsy.  But here are some sneak peeks of items that already are in the shop or will be soon!  
 Lady Bug Golem Bead with gemstones.  Strung on waxed linen cord.

 Swirly Golem Bead with buri nut beads and brass spacers.  Strung on Waxed Linen Cord.
Gold and brown Golem bead with buri nut beads and brass spacers. Accented with acrylic flower beads and a flower lobster clasp. Strung on beading wire.  

Can you tell I've become good friends with Golem Beads?  I love the intricacies of the colors and  designs on these handmade ceramic beads!  Each bead is so pretty. 
I have many moods when designing and so it will definitely come out in the future listed items - some beadweaving, some embossed or etched brass and silver, some wirework.  
Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A pink rosary

I am really proud of this and happy that I could give something so meaningful to my daughter.  Last Spring, she celebrated her First Communion.  And this is the rosary that I made for her - in her favorite colors - pink, purple and silver.
The pink beads are some kind of gemstone and the purple beads are a Czech glass bead. I ordered the crucifix and the rosary center from Inspirational Supply - the shop owner was so nice and helpful!

Although Daphne is still learning what its all about, I hope that one day it will get some use. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

This summer beading...

This summer, I have definitely still been working on jewelry projects amongst lots of travel!  I love visiting people, but I definitely enjoy being home and just doing the routine stuff too.  And this week will put us back into the routine of school!  I can't believe it's already that time again.
Here's one of the projects I worked on this summer...  the Garden Windows Bracelet**
It was for my Mom, a kind of belated Mother's Day gift.  
I used lighter color Tila Beads than the example and some really pretty Czech Druks as the centers of the flowers.  I had a hard time finding pinkish purple size 15 beads and then finding Tila beads that coordinated well.
The colors are really pretty against skin (they look a little more dull against the white backdrop).  And I love the button closure.  I was worried that it wouldn't be too secure but it really does the trick.

And now I've added ladder stitch and square stitch to my repertoire of beadweaving skills.
I don't know about other beaders, but I definitely enjoy making jewelry much more than taking pictures of them and that is probably why I have a hard time keeping up with the blogging.
**This pattern is by Glorianne Ljubich and originally published in Beadwork magazine June/July 2012. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Bead Soup is Ready!!!

Yeah!!! It's the reveal day for the Bead Soup Blog Hop Party.  We trade beads with another beader and make something really cool with them. 
My bead soup partner is Denise Petersen from    
A few posts back, I introduced her.  Not only do we both have the same name Denise, but we also both are married to Kevin's and... each have 3 kids and...  are both nurses.  How's that for some similarities?
She sent me some really nice beads.  Here's the soup:
 ***Love the color palette!!! 
Aren't these components so cool (and handmade by Denise Petersen)

Before I get to the reveal, like many beaders, I'm sure, the vision doesn't always translate well. 
First, I had envisioned a lariat necklace with strands of seed beads and the pyrite and turquoise glass beads  and green sea glass winding through the holes of the compass but I couldn't figure out how to not make it too bulky (behind the compass) or to keep the compass from flipping around too much. I also thought of using it like a watch face, but the idea just didn't settle well with me.
So, this leather- compass necklace is a second idea but I think it came together pretty well...  The compass is strung on metallic silver leather and rayon gimp in Grandma Moses color - which is one of those purchases that at first I wondered why did I buy this but turned out great for this project?  It has the green sea glass beads and sea blue glass beads hanging from the bottom and closes with a button clasp.

 Don't mind the pink exercise gear - I think this necklace would look great with a blouse or even a sweater. 
I think it would go with an outfit more like this:
Can't go wrong with white and khaki ever.....:) 
**from Polyvore via Pinterest

On the other hand, this next necklace came out exactly as I wished.  Colorful, earthy, a little funky.  I actually took apart a chain and added the jump rings with silver peanut beads and the small blue and green lampwork beads. These beads look so pretty from all angles that I didn't want to just string them and then not be able to see the sides of the beads.  The key focal is strung on with waxed linen cord.  And the clasp (which Denise Peterson also made) actually goes with the silver chain pretty well. 

It hangs so nicely.  :)

My last attempt was a 'Satin Pillows' crocheted necklace using the pearl beads and a few pyrite.  I honestly thought I would be able to whip through this, since I crochet fairly well, but apparently I am holding the thread too tightly and can't get the tension correct around the beads because they are all floppy.  So far this is what I have....

And this is what it is supposed to look like...
This picture is from the DesigningVashti website where the pattern can be purchased.  My patience wore thin quickly.  I will attempt again when I can find time to focus on figuring this out. 

And now on to my partner....  These are the beads I sent Denise..
 See a resemblance in the color palette?
And a focal that I made...
Check out what she did with these beads on her blog:
And check out what everyone else (almost 500 other beaders!!) did with their bead soup:

Thank you for hopping!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

My Last Kisses of Summer Bracelet....

I'm still into the beadweaving and my latest (and definitely greatest) beadweaving is the 'Last Kisses of Summer Bracelet' by C. J. Bauschka from the August/September 2012 Beadwork issue.  I liked the picture on the front cover of the magazine so much that I decided to start with making one in those colors....

Ooh... isn't it so sparkly and pretty?    So one in this colorway (except I used tortoise colored fire-polished 6mm beads and a matte bronze seed bead) and because it turned out so splendidly, I made another in a silver colorway with blues, greens and purples...
And so this is how mine turned out.  The only other change I made was making it smaller than the pattern called for (made the bronzey one 14 right angle weave squares long and the silver one 15 right angle weave squares long).

I was planning on making this bracelet in all blue crystal colors but ordered the wrong size crystals - ordered 4mm instead of 3mm - which is needed for this bracelet.  Oh shucks, now I'll have to find a piece of jewelry to use the 4mm crystals with.  :)   Anyone have any beadweaving ideas for 4mm crystals?