How do you make your handmade jewelry special?

I love to make jewelry it makes me happy.  I want mine to be one of a kind so how do I do that?  I make my own beads and cabochons and I think that’s what makes my pieces kind of special.  What do you do to make your jewelry special?

Lately I have been in a bead making frenzy and it’s been a lot of fun.  Some of the beads I have used in pieces and the ones I don’t need I sell in one of my online shops for other beaders to use. 

I use polymer clay to make my beads it is a wonderful versatile product that can be used to make wonderful things like beads and sculptures.  The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.  So I will show you some of the beads and a few of the projects I made with some of them….

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This bracelet and necklace were made with these beads….100_7508

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100_7498Here are some other beads I have made lately

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I have lots more in my bead stash and in my shop this is just a small sample.

How I make an Bead embroidered eyeglasses case…

I am so blind I have 3 different pairs of glasses that need—1 for computer-1for working on closer items and reading-1 pair of bifocals for distance and mid range. So as you can guess I need a few cases for them.  So if I gotta have them lying around they might as well be pretty.  I decided my newest project will be a eyeglasses case.I thought I would show you how I am doing it………..

Step 1…….

I folded a piece of copy paper in half and on the fold I traced around a old case I have been using.  Then I cut it out leaving about a 1/4 inch border for stitching.  Then I traced it on bead backing and cut it out.

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Step 2…

I gathered some components I think I might want to use and place them in different ways to see how they might look.

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I’m pretty happy with this lay out…….

Step 3……..

First I glued down the cabochon in the middle[it’s Mexican crazy lace agate}. Now let the stitching begin.

I build a bezel around the cabochon and secure the metal pieces in place with pretty beads.

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I like it so far……….

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all the metal pieces are in their spots..

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Step 4 start adding other elements to add interest…

100_7451and here is where I am at so far…………..

My new home away from home…..

Every year for over 50 years in Parke County Indiana has had a county wide craft festival.  People tour the back country roads between towns enjoying the rural country scenery and quaint covered bridges stopping in the towns along the way to visit craft vendors and eat all different kinds of food.

This is my 6th years as a vendor at The Parke County Covered Bridge Festival.  I set up in the small farm town of Rosedale in the small community center for 10 days every October and spend my days talking to people who come to enjoy what we have to offer.

Here are a few photos of my booth…..

I taught myself something new

When I feel uninspired or unfocused I find the best cure is to teach myself something new to spark my creative energy.

I have been wondering what new thing I wanted to learn and I thought why not take an old skill and use it in a new way.  Ages ago I used to do basket weaving like a lot of other people in the 70’s [yes I’m old} and remembered I really enjoyed it but quit because I was a young single Mom and to broke and tired to keep up with it.  So yesterday I was wondering how it would look if I took a basic weave pattern and used wire instead of  reeds.  And after working out in my head some of the ways to go about it I gave it a try.  Guess what it worked and my first try doesn’t look 1/2 bad.  The weave needs to be tighter and more even but with a better vice and a little practice that should be easy  to do.

The pattern is pretty and it’s a very sturdy bracelet I wore it last night and so did my 3yr old granddaughter and it held it’s shape really well.  And the most important thing is that it was fun and something new to help my creativity.

If you want to see a closer image of the bracelet so you can see how pretty the pattern is just click on the photo to enlarge.

 

I would really like to know what you do when you are in a creative slump.

Soy kitchen candles, or what I did with my Saturday.

Yesterday my house smelled wonderful.  Why? Because I was making soy kitchen candles all day long.

I call them kitchen candles because they are foody scents.  I thought it would be cute to put them in mason jars.  I am also making candles in other types of containers ; now all I need to do is make labels and decorate them.

These are 8 oz  soy candles in Iced cappuccino  and White chocolate creme brulee.  These are my favorites of the ones I made yesterday.  I think I’ll decorate them simply with a raffia bow and a niece label.

The jar candles are Apple crisp delight and Harvest scents and I think I’ll decorate them like the other jars. The tall glass and the goblet are Apple crisp delight and I’m going to decorate them with a Holiday theme.  The square ones are wax melts for tart warmer.

Soy wax is nice to work with and produces a slow clean burn and cleans up easily.  I also like to make candles with palm wax.  Both a vegetable based waxes and I like that.

The sweet smell of soap in my house

One of my favorite things to do is to make soap.

Besides it being pretty and it smelling good it is one of the best things I can do for my families skin.  The soaps from the stores are loaded with detergents and things that strip the skin and age it quicker.  I make my soaps the old fashion way with skin loving oils and butters.  I have been using handmade soap for many years now and would never use a detergent bar again.

I use the Hot Process method to make my soap=making soap this way produces a rich creamy rustic looking soap.  After cooking the soap in a crock pot I put it into a wooden loaf mold to harden and when it’s done I am left with a “loaf ” of soap that weighs about 2 1/2 lbs. of finished soap

Next I cut the loaf of soap into 8 bars and put them on a drying racks to cure for a month or so.  After curing they are ready to be used and boxed up for sale.

Above is Manuka Lavender and Victorian Black Rose olive oil soap.  When I make soap I make about 20 lbs because that’s all my racks will hold, usually 8 different scents.  In addition to these I also made Chestnuts and brown sugar,Bamboo Sugarcane,White Chocolate Karibu,Japanese Pear and Ginseng{my fave},Satara sandalwood and Cinnamon Apple Berry.  My curing room smells awesome.

Next week end I will be making soy candles………

I have reopened my Etsy.com shop….

In 2007 I opened my first on-line shop to sell my hand made goodies.  Http://GingerbellsGifts.Etsy.com .  I did really well there for the first year  and 1/2 or so and then things changed and my sales began to drop off so I opened my Http://Gingerbells.Artfire.com shop in 2009 and things went well there considering it was a young start up website.

I like it there and I like being in on the beginning of a new website and watching it grow.  It’s fun to get to know people and I have expanded to 2 shops there.  The last month there have been a lot of changes at Artfire and sales are rather slow so I have been shopping around for another venue to open a new shop to fill in the gaps.

One day I thought “what the heck I’ll pop over to Etsy and see what’s up over there.  Well it looks like there have been a lot of changes to some of the things that disappointed me there before, mainly the terrible search function.  So instead of opening a new shop somewhere else I decided to reopen one of my Etsy shops and give it a go again.  This time I will do things a little differently and we’ll see how it goes.

So here I go again wish me luck……

This weekend will be a fun busy one.  I’m going to be making my fall scented olive oil soaps and soy candles.  Hubby will be golfing all weekend so I won’t need the kitchen for cooking any ways.  Boy will my house smell good.