Thursday, April 26, 2012

I'm Gonna WIN!!!

One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the Santa Clara County Fair. Two wonderful weeks in August at the huge fairgrounds in San Jose CA. Italian sausage sandwiches, strawberry shortcake, livestock, car races and photo booths.

There is me and Gran and me and my mom. Looky my mom. She was smokin' hot! 

So, the fair holds a place near and dear to my heart. One of my favorite things about the fair was looking at the arts and crafts and seeing the prizewinning entries. Gazing at the blue ribbons and commenting on the lovely handcrafted items.

A few years ago I started entering my local fair, the San Mateo County Fair. I wanted my own blue ribbon. I entered quilts, yarn and stuff that I wove. But something always eluded me.

Yep. A second, a third and an honorable mention. No first. That is until now...

Meet my prizewinning yarn. Yep. This year is the year. My hank of yellow yarn is gonna take home the blue ribbon. My entry is due on May 9th and its almost ready. Just have to knit a sample swatch and carry it down to the fair office.

BRING IT BLUE RIBBON... This is my year.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wrapped Stacked & Layered Challenge

I love bracelets. You might remember a few months ago my post on recycling an old trend and making some stacked bracelets for my wrist. (The tutorial is posted there, too. Just in case you needed a few for yourself.)

So when Tracy gave a shout out for participants for an upcoming stacked bracelet challenge on her blog "Make Bracelets" (a great blog, BTW), I jumped in and joined.

The idea was to create a stack of at least three bracelets with at least one made by you. Here is my stack.

Let's dissect this jumble and take a look at what's around my wrist.

I have 6 bracelets in my stack, all made by me except one. Here they are in no particular order.

Wrapped with a pretty clasp.

Czech beads, crystal and freshwater pearls.

Jasper, smokey topaz and brass beads, with a kicky key charm.

Crocheted bracelet with seed beads Czech glass and brass beads.

This one was made by my friend, Bob Burkett from copper wire
Another wrapped one. This one wraps double.
All together.

Closeup of the clasp.

More up close.

So there they are. Check out the list below for more Wrapped, Stacked & Layered posts. Thanks, Tracy for such a fun idea! I can't wait to see what everyone else has in their stacks! (YOU ARE HERE)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Had a Coupon

...So it really isn't my fault. I am powerless when confronted by a craft store coupon. Especially one that has a percentage off your total purchase.

I clutched the coupon in my hot little hand, trolled the aisles of my local craft store and stumbled across these...

QUILLING... No seriously, quilling! You know...rolling thin strips of paper into filigree-esque designs. The craft perfected by nuns and monks during the Renaissance to decorate book covers and religious items. Popular in the 18th century and practiced by "quality ladies of leisure" and thought not to be too taxing for their minds and gentle dispositions. The art brought to the Americas and adopted by our colonial Foremothers. QUILLING!

(Yep, I get excited by crafts of yore. I can't help it. You should see me tat. I can tat the hell out of some lace edging. Seriously.)

So coming soon to a blog near you, I will share my adventures in quilling and see if I can translate it into some kind of jewelry. Or I may throw everything over and go join a nunnery. What's good enough for Julie Andrews is good enough for me.

(Yes, I was a Theater Arts major in college and yes, we wore a lot of funny hats.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's a Snap...

Last Saturday I had one of those learning moments in class. I kind of love the part of class when what you are teaching results in an epiphany. This time it was about snaps.

So here how it went...
The wonderful Bead Inspirations in Alameda, CA hosted my class and I had five eager cuff-makers. Everyone did such a great job. Here are a few pics of the class projects.

It was a fun day of designing and stitching. However, there was one small glitch. The snaps. It's one thing when you are creating by yourself to pound (and pound, and pound, and pound) snaps into leather, but it's quite another when you have five students all trying to pound unruly snaps and having varying degrees of success. I am happy to say that everyone did get those snaps in, but with a little more elbow grease than I thought.

The class went great but before teaching it again, the snap situation would need to be resolved. After class I went to the the fabric store to search for a solution and lo and behold, I found this in the notions aisle:

Find it at this link.
They are perfect for the leather cuffs. Here is how they work.

 There are four pieces to the snaps.

To add the top receiving end of the snap, push one of the pronged pieces through the leather and place it on the snap fastening tool. These are size 16 snaps, so place it in the size 16 slot so it fits snugly. Make sure that all of the prongs are completely pushed through the leather. The outside of the pronged piece sits on the outside of the leather with the snap sitting on the inside.

 Place the snap component on the prongs.

Close the setter and strike it with three or four blows with a plastic or rawhide mallet.

Repeat with the other side of the snap. This time the outside of the prong component goes on the inside of the leather. Push the prongs through the leather. The snap component sits on top. Close the setter and tap to secure the snap to the leather.

Here is the finished cuff with the snaps in place. They are nice and tight and easy to snap open and closed.

I also taught the students to make felted beads and how to turn them into acorn dangles. I need to attach this one to my cuff. Want to make felted beads of your own? I posted a tutorial over on Snapguide.

All-in-all a fun project and I am so glad that these snaps are perfect for the cuffs. Thanks again to my students. I had a great day stitching with you!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Simple Soldering Sneak Peek!

Hi all!
Looky what just hit my inbox...

Click image to enlarge.
This is the BLAD (Book Layout and Design) for my book. This is a preview of the book for promotional use and the publisher sent it on to me. I thought it would be cool to share with you. Above is the cover and a synopsis of the book.

Click to enlarge.
And here are a few of the projects included in the book. I am so excited to see it all coming together!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Make a Simple Leather Necklace

Just a quick note to let you know that I have a cool tutorial up on Snapguide on how to attach a clasp to leather cord.

It's a perfect spring necklace. I am wearing mine today!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Jewelry Making, Daily!

I am really excited to share some news with you. Guess who is the newest contributor to the Jewelry Making Daily blog. Yep. It's me.

My torches.
My debut article is all about the ins and outs of butane micro torches. I am pretty proud of it if I do say so myself.

If you don't read Jewelry Making Daily, I suggest that you jump on over and check it out. Sponsored by Interweave, it is a wealth of information for the jewelry designer.

You'll see my wit and wisdom over there a few times each month, sharing projects, know-how and special tips and tricks all related to jewelry making. I want to give a special thanks to the editor, Tammy Jones, for inviting to join her team.

This is going to be fun!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Inspiration

Spring is definitely in full swing out here in California. The skies are blue (mostly) the breezes are blowing (gently) and the birds are singing (shrilly).

With the days so nice, I felt a bit of cabin fever and decided to take a jaunt into town. By a jaunt into town, I really mean hopping in the car and speeding up to San Francisco.

After a short 20 minute drive, I was in my favorite city in the world. Seriously. I mean I love the bustle of New York, think London is quite nice and très adore Paris, but there is something about San Francisco that is just perfect.

I decided to go to the heart of SF- Union Square. I love the mix of tourists and locals. Noisy streets and calm hideaways. I toted my camera along to snap some pictures for inspiration.

While editing the pictures for this post I noticed they all had a predominant theme. Green. I really have green on the brain lately as this project, this project and this project all have green as their dominating color.

So without further ado, I want to share my inspiration photos with you. Some even have color palettes to accompany them. (If you would like to try your hand at making your own, this tutorial from the BrandiGirlBlog is AWESOME! Thanks, Brandi for putting that tutorial together. It saved me HOURS.)

A window in my favorite SF store. Can you guess?
 Thanks, San Francisco. You never fail to please! 

Also stay tuned to the blog tomorrow morning I have something EXCITING to share!!! (Don't you just love teasers?) Have a great day, everybody.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Snapguide, I think I love you.

A friend of mine send me a notice about a brand new iPhone app that she thought would be right up my alley. Boy was she right!

It's called Snapguide. It allows you to create quick and easy (and stylish) DIY how to's and share them on the web. You don't need an iPhone to view the tutorials, but you do need one to create them.

I couldn't wait to make one, so I created a quick tutorial on how to make a chain out of jump rings. You can check it out here.


You can follow me to see upcoming tutorials.

I think I'm in love.