I went to the Geneva Holiday Craft Fair this weekend to sell my jewelry. The craft fair was held at the Community Center and the vendors had tables in a huge gym. There was a nice crowd and I was standing by my table when a couple came up. The woman was drawn to a pink necklace and reminded her husband how she loved the color pink. I waited for the man to reach for his wallet but he didn’t
“Geez, guy,” I thought to myself. “Can’t you cough up $32 bucks to make your wife happy?”
Alas, they moved on and I was left with my dark thoughts. But overall, the day went well for me and I sold quite a few necklaces as well as art prints. Just before the sale ended, the man who wouldn’t buy his wife a necklace came back. His wife wasn’t with him.
“I’d like to get this,” he said, picking up the pink necklace. Then he went on to say how he loved the city of Geneva and that it was so great to see so many creative people in one place. I wrapped up his necklace and handed it to him. And then the man shook my hand!
So what humble pie lesson did I learn from all this? Don’t be so quick to judge someone, because a surprise might be right around the corner to upset your apple cart!
,Two weeks ago I️ overhauled my bedroom. I️ wanted a sanctuary where I️ could relax and read. What I️ had instead was a cluttered storage bin. It was filled with canvases at every stage of painting. A lot were brand new, some were half painted and others had a few background layers. I️ put the culprits in closets, on shelves, and in my catch-all room. Ah, I️ could breathe again!
I️ wanted things that I️ love in the room. I️ love original paintings by other artists and, though I️ don’t have very many, I️ found the perfect piece to go on the little dresser by my bed. I️ put my kindle there too.
Across from the bed is a bookcase that my husband made me when we were dating. My favorite things line the top shelf. There’s a black and white photo of my mother in her 20’s - high cheek bones, deep set eyes, soft hair to her shoulders - a classic beauty. Two funny, little ceramic men stand next to her. A friend gave them to me many years ago. I️ don’t know why I️ like them so much but I️ do. Then there is the glass piano at the other end. I️ fell in love with it in a shop. Unbeknownst to me, my husband went back to buy it for my birthday.
On my dresser sits my mom’s old jewelry box and a beautiful, little, perfume bottle that my sister gave to me. The picture of Jesus with the little children was in my bedroom when I️ was a little girl. It’s one of the few things I️ have from my early childhood.
On my bed are two pillows that my friend, Kim, made. I️ think they’re pretty and they fit the space. She writes in her blog about putting up fairy lights in her rooms. I️ decided I️ would try it and I️ love the result. They light the room with a warm glow. Now when I️ want peace and restfulness, I️ go into my bedroom, turn on the fairy lights, play instrumental music and grab my kindle. And I’m surrounded by things I️ love.
The other day my friend, Lee, messaged me with 4 pictures she had taken of herself. She was on a weekend trip near the ocean to attend a wedding. Lee was looking hot in a slinky dress and sunglasses. Best or all, she was wearing a necklace that I had made and, boy, did it look good on her! The necklace was one of poppies painted with alcohol inks on yupo paper and fitted into a copper, square tray. Lee’s dress was a forest green and the red poppies with the light green background popped against that dress. Lee looked beautiful wearing her necklace! It was sweet of her to surprise me with those pictures and I love her for it. She made my day!
I love using copper, silver and other metals to make my jewelry. I don’t, however, like the way it tarnishes. Tarnish occurs when the metal is exposed to the air and oxidation takes place. Customers have asked me how to clean their jewelry, especially the copper. My answer has been to apply some commercial metal cleaner like Tarn-X, or use a natural alternative such as a mixture of vinegar, flour and salt. After that, keep the jewelry in a plastic bag when not wearing it.
Then there is the problem that some people have with a skin reaction to the metal, such as turning their skin green or black.
I recently decided to search the internet and see if there were some other solutions to metal tarnishing and skin reactions.
That’s when I stumbled across ProtectaClear by Everbrite.
ProtectaClear is a skin-safe, anti-tarnish clear coating that is practically invisible and will protect jewelry from tarnish, oxidation and fading.
Everbrite claims that its product will:
Amazon carries ProtectaClear and the reviews on it were 91% positive. The main complaints were that the can was hard to open and the steps to cleaning the metal and then applying the coating were a bit involved. A few people said ProtectaClear didn’t work, but I suspect that may have come from a failure to follow directions carefully.
In any case, I ordered the product. I will read the instructions carefully and apply it to some of my jewelry. After several weeks, I will share the results. Stay tuned…
.My favorite way to learn is by exploring and discovering. That’s the approach I take with making jewelry. That’s why it’s fun. One day I started experimenting with alcohol inks on metal. When I got to the copper, I knew I had hit gold!
I love color and I wanted to add it to one of my stamped pieces - a copper, dog tag from Beaducation. This posed a problem because enamel and paint would cover the word "Joy" that I had stamped on the dog tag. Hmmmm…. I wondered how alcohol ink might work?
I use Adirondack Alcohol Inks put out by Ranger. I applied some red pepper ink and then some sunset orange to the copper. Alcohol ink is free flowing on metal and I loved the way the two colors moved around. The word, “Joy” was still visible and I darkened it a little with a fine point magic marker. It took two minutes to dry and then I sprayed it with a varnish so that the ink wouldn’t run once the resin was poured. I used Winsor & Newton all purpose varnish which gives a matt finish. I don’t use gloss because the resin adds gloss.
After waiting an hour for the varnish to dry, I placed a tiny, sterling silver heart under the word. Then, I mixed the resin and poured, making sure it flowed to all the edges. I covered it and left it alone overnight.
You know the saying - Joy comes in the morning? That’s what I found. I love my little dog tag! I hung it on a sterling silver chain and it is ready to wear!
Here are some other pieces that I created with alcohol inks. All my blanks come from Beaducation. I’m satisfied with their quality and service.
What’s in a name? Everything. Names have meaning. Names have identity. People have understood this since the beginning of time. Your name becomes part of who you are.
In the world of jewelry; stamping or engraving a name on a necklace, ring, or bracelet singles that jewelry out for a particular, chosen person. This carries a lot of meaning.
So when my daughter Grace asked me for a necklace that would present her name and occupation, I had a pretty good idea as to how I would create it. Grace is a realtor and selling is her passion in life. I caught onto this when she was 7 years old and selling water in our front yard. No, not bottled water. Tap water. It wasn’t even cold water at that. And yes, people bought it.
I had just gotten a new set of letter stamps from Beaducation and I was itching to use them on the project.
I looked through my copper blanks and chose a size I thought Grace would like - 1.5” - not too big, but big enough to work with what I had in mind.
I had a small, 5mmx30mm curved rectangle that I decided to engrave her name on. I liked that it was curved because my background blank was a circle.
I positioned my letter A stamp right in the middle of the blank, knowing this would center the name - 2 letters to the right of the A, and 2 letters to the left.
Next, I covered the name in ink with a black sharpie. Then I used the pro polishing pads from Beaducation to polish the piece leaving the letters in black.
Now it was time to turn my attention to the circle blank which would serve as the background for Grace's name and two sterling silver charms I had purchased. One charm was a dollar sign and the other was a house with a "sold " sign in front of it. They were perfect symbols for a realtor.
I painted the copper circle with Pebeo fantasy paints - Moon Turquoise, Vitrail Citrus Lemon, and Vitrail Green Apple. When the paint was dry, I lay the name tag and the charms on top.
Then I put the piece on a special rubber mat that allows for minimal dripping, and poured ice resin over it. Ice resin comes in two bottle - a resin and a hardener. You mix one part resin to one part hardener. I let that set for 12 hours or more.
The next day, my piece was ready for the bail. I glued a copper bail onto the back with E6000 industrial strength glue. I let that dry for a good 6 hours and then attached the pendant to a snake chain necklace.
The only thing left to do was to surprise my Gracie with the necklace. And surprise her I did. She loved it!
There's nothing like making jewelry with meaning to let someone know how special they are to you! Isn't she a cutie?!
I have been a painter for over 20 years working with various mediums such as oils, watercolors, and inks. I love color! When I turned to jewelry making with metal blanks, I found myself in a dilemma. I could add color to my metal with enamel. The only problem is that enameling calls for fire and I'm nervous around fire.
After some research, I found a way to add color to my jewelry with a special paint that is conducive to metal. The paints are Pebeo Fantasy paints. Fantasy Moon Paints create textured, hammered and pearlescent effects. When first applied, the paint seems to take on a life of its own, moving and swirling on the surface.. Vitrail paints have a transparent quality similar to stained glass. When the two paints are combined, magic happens.
The metal blanks I choose to use are from Beaducation. The blanks are quality and the delivery is fast! I also like the fact that they categorize their blanks according to type and shape. I could find what I wanted quickly without searching for an hour.
So, with Pebeo Fantasy paint as my medium, and Beaducation copper blanks as my canvas, I created a sunflower necklace. Sunflowers are one of the biggest, happiest flowers on the planet! Combine that with jewelry and you have a fun necklace that will not only lift your spirits, but also the spirits of everyone who sees it! Here’s how to do it:
First, a list of materials:
1 Beaducation copper circle blank 1.91” in diameter
1 Beaducation copper circle blank 1.5” in diameter
Fantasy Moon Paints - Emerald, Turquoise, Mystic Green
Vitrail Paints - gold, orange, green apple
wooden popsicle stick
1 copper bail
1 copper plated snake chain - 18”
1. I took the 1..5 copper blank and sketched a sunflower on it with a pencil. This was just to give me an idea in my mind of where to lay the paint.
2. I stirred the Fantasy Moon turquoise paint with a popsicle stick. It is important to stir the paint for two minutes or so to get the best results. Fantasy paint is thick. Then I used a popsicle stick to spread it onto the 1.5 copper blank until the blank was covered evenly. Look at that beautiful marbled effect!
3. Next came the Fantasy Moon gold paint. I used a micro applicator, otherwise known as a dental brush, to drop the gold paint into the turquoise. I guided the paint gently from the center outward to make the petals.
4. Using Vitrail Orange paint, I created the head of the sunflower, dropping the paint in a bit at a time and guiding it in a circular fashion.
5. I created the first layer of leaves and stems with Fantasy Moon Mystic Green, again dropping the paint in and guiding it with the micro applicator.
6. I wanted to brighten the leaves and stems, so I added Fantasy Moon Emerald paint.
7. To high light the painting, I used Vitrail Orange on the sunflower, and Vitrail Green Apple on the leaves and stems. At that point, the painting on the 1.5" copper blank was done!
8. Now it was time for the other 1.91” copper blank! This blank was going to serve as a frame for the painted blank. I used Sun And Moon craft glue as an adhesive to keep the painted blank in place while I poured the resin.
9. After 20 minutes or so, the glue was dry enough to pour the resin. I use ice resin, which I like because of its ease and quality. I poured one part resin to one part hardener into a small measuring cup. The mixture has to be stirred constantly for two minutes until clear. Resin usually comes with plastic applicators with which to stir. The copper blanks were placed on a rubber doming tray which is great for allowing extra resin to run off the blanks and not pool onto the piece. Then, I poured the resin onto the middle of the painted blank and moved the resin outward with the applicator until it completely covered the surfaces of both blanks. I left the resin to dry for 12 hours, covering the piece with a plastic cup to prevent any dust from settling on it.
10. After the piece dried, I attached a copper bail to the back using E6000 glue which is an industrial strength adhesive. I let it dry for 48 hours.
When the piece was dry, I attached it to an 18" copper plated snake chain and it was ready to wear!
Below are some other necklaces I created using Beaducation metal blanks and Pebeo Fantasy paints!
If you're like me, you pop out of bed, shower, get dressed and look for some jewelry that will match your outfit. There's nothing worse than finding your favorite necklace all knotted and tangled up in the bottom of your jewelry box. You try to untangle it but realize you'll never get it done by the time you have to leave for work. Grrrr.. what's a fashionista to do?
Here are some creative solutions I found on Pinterest:
On the cheap? Find some pretty tree branches from outdoors and put them in a fun or quirky vase. Hang your necklaces from the twigs.
Or put screws in the bottom of a wooden clothes hanger and hang them on there.
Have a few bucks? Buy some decorative knobs from the store and screw them into a an old, wooden board.
Willing to spend around $30 or so? Buy a pretty, handmade shelf like the one below from BriarRidgeCreation on Etsy. Throw a plant or a few trinkets on top of the shelf and hang your necklaces below!
Next time I'll show you how I organize my necklaces! Until then!
Like the woman who bought a painting of roses because her deceased husband had always bought her roses. The connection could be a memory like that, or it could be seeing something that brings a friend or loved one to mind. Someone recently bought a necklace with elephants because her daughter loves elephants. That reminds me of my sister who I call the cat lady because she loves cats.
A dear friend recently asked me to custom make a necklace for her with a heart and a butterfly. Those two things somehow signify her parents who had passed away in the same year. She wanted to wear a necklace in memory of them.
Whatever the connection is, it usually has meaning. That touches me. I think one of the worst enemies to life is a feeling that it’s meaningless. That leads to hopelessness and worse.
So, I value every connection however small. It’s an understated but significant sharing with a person you might not even know. Like the one with the lady at the Farmers Market who bought a small circle necklace with a cross. Before leaving, she simply smiled and said, “It spoke to me.”
My son recently raised the question - Can you teach inspiration? Great question. I've never really thought about it, but my gut reaction is 'no.'
Inspiration is the force behind the creative. It's germane to the original, the authentic. Don't get me wrong, talent and honing one's skills are important, but inspiration is something that no one owns.
It's like the wind. It comes and goes as it pleases. You can't corral or direct it. It's not just a great idea. It's a life energy that carries that idea like the wind carries a bird.
Although inspiration can't be forced, it can be welcomed. You can prepare a place for it like you would for a friend coming to visit. Solitude and stillness seem to entice it, as does beauty.
Even though there's no compelling inspiration, It can compel you. It compels you to write, sing, paint, create. But it is, by no means, confined to music and the fine arts. It moves in every realm from gardening to cooking, to building, teaching, nursing.. and so on.
Inspiration. Can't buy it. Can't sell it. Can't teach it and, sure as heck, can't control it. It's the real deal.