Tag Archives: charms

One Shell of a Necklace

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collection of shell buttons

Collection of Shell Buttons

A friend gave me a small baggie of vintage Mother of Pearl and Shell buttons that she loves to make her a necklace. The first thing I noticed when she handed them to me was the weight. It was so heavy. Buttons are made out of plastic now and are virtually weightless. I was intrigued.

I open the baggie and spread them across my rug. Most buttons were round, but there were oval, rectangle, and square ones.

odd shaped buttons

Odd Shaped Buttons

I also found these beautiful moon shaped buttons that I loved. I had no clue how I would use them on a necklace. I found a heart shaped button. I knew I had to use this one. I’m a sucker for hearts! Another interesting detail to these vintage buttons is the carving. Some were smooth, but the majority of them have intricate carvings on the front of the buttons. It’s strange to think that buttons contributed to the overall aesthetic of a piece of clothing. Nowadays buttons serve almost completely as utilitarian items that close the ends of fabric.
carved buttons

Carved Buttons

close up shell button necklace

Shell Button Necklace Close-Up

I pulled several buttons out that I thought I could work with to make the necklace. The large one with all the holes around would be perfect for the central part of the necklace. I knew I could hang other buttons and charms from it. I built the necklace from there and added a dragon fly charm. I remembered that my friend has a delicate tattoo around her wrist of elephants. I removed the dragon fly and added an Indian brass elephant…PERFECT!

Next, what type of chain do I use? I thought about a beaded chain but it just seemed to ordinary. I found an old brass chain with little flat metal charms attached. This could be it. I loved the metal charms but I feared it would take away from the beautiful center piece I had created. I removed them all but kept one to add to the end of the necklace. I also added a couple of inches of larger old brass chain. Now she has the option to wear the necklace long or as a choker.

LIGHTBULB GOES OFF! The little metal charms hanging off the base chain gave me the idea to attach a few of the moon buttons in a similar way. I arranged them a few times to make sure that the length of the necklace would feature the moon buttons as well as the centerpiece independent of the length she chose to wear the necklace. shellnecklace1

This is my favorite necklace to date. It’s always special when you don’t have to struggle to make something work. Struggle can be good and teaches you. It’s the magic of creating. Your mind directing your hands in a seamless way. That’s what drives an artist. I also made some earrings from two matching buttons. I couldn’t help myself 🙂 Thanks TJ for the experience.

shell button earrings

Shell Button Earrings

If you love something, let it go…

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If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, it was never meant to be.

Remember me? I used to create jewelry and blog on a consistent bases. I went on a detour in the middle of the 2012 and it lasted until the end of the year. I took classes and passed my exam to become a licensed real estate sales person. It was a wonderful trip, (for the most part) but I miss creating. The love of making jewelry and writing about it came back and it’s mine forever. When I lose my way, there’s one sure way to find it.

I visited my favorite bead shop, Bead It! and bought a few things that caught my eye. I’m on a copper kick right now so along with the copper earring wires and headpins, I had to have these little copper hearts

copper hearts

Little copper hearts with the word April

as well as the copper Celtic crosses.
copper celtic crosses

Copper Celtic crosses

black beads copper bails

Black beads with copper and copper bails

I LOVE the black beads with copper on them.

Isabelle wanted a key! I have a collection of keys but she wanted to pick one out for herself and have me make a necklace for her. You will see the finished piece!

silver key

Isabelle’s silver key

I also picked up these beautiful red wooden discs with carvings and a little silver turtle.

red wood discs

Red Wooden Discs

I adore turtles.
silver turtle

Little Silver Turtle

Of course the day wouldn’t be complete without stopping my one of my favorite thrift stores. I am a bad jewelry maker because all I’ve ever looked for there jewelry wise is pieces to take apart and reuse. I find myself at the back of the store and lo and behold, they have a craft section…I got this pile of buttons for $2.99!!!

pile of buttons

Pile of Buttons

At Bead It! buttons are $5 bucks for a 2×3 inch zip bag. I LOVE the color and size of the buttons I got. I’m overfilled with ideas. I even created a new Pinterest page for Beautiful Buttons.

So the word on the street is, I’mm Baaack! Thank you everyone for all your support along the way.

Brace Yourself

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Close-up of Peasant bracelet

Life has changed dramatically. I left my permanent job, I’m working with my spouse in real estate, I’m studying to become an agent, and I have more time to work on jewelry. The last part I’m really excited about. It’s been chaotic since I left my job. I still haven’t worked out my routine and I must have a routine. I want next week to have more structure…I know, an artist who wants structure.

With a little more creative time on my hands, I’ve made 2 bracelets and I’m delighted with the outcome. Two principals of design, movement and scale have been the focus of my pieces. Bracelets seem to be the prefect art form for my experiments. They are always moving around the wrist. I’ve found that by using more than one type of chain, I can achieve more motion, play with the scale, and I get the added benefits of dimension and texture.

Close-up of Rouge bracelet

Rouge is typical of my style but with a twist. It’s monochromatic and small and it jingles. I found the bells at BEAD IT! and I had no idea what I would do what them. They just caught my eye. I used three types of brass chain for the base of the bracelet. I added red glass hearts, glass squares, brass colored glass hears and red crystals in groups of 3’s along with the bells. I love the rich, lush color of the bracelet and the added bonus is that it makes a beautiful sound.

Rouge, charm bracelet

I created Peasant from a kooky vintage belt that I found at a garage sale. I love the wooden rings and I added turquoise, vintage brass buttons and green glass beads that I acquired from a vintage pair of chandelier earrings. The bracelet is large but very light weight because of the wooden rings. Honestly, this one is out of my wheelhouse but a divine example of texture and scale. I’ve learned that I don’t have to make beautiful pieces I would wear, I have to make beautiful pieces.

Peasant, charm bracelet

I believe you have to challenge yourself and get out of your creative pigeon hole. You always learn from it, and brace yourself, you could create something that you didn’t know existed within your realm. I’ll leave you with this.

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it. — Pablo Picasso

I think therefore I garage sale

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I haven’t been as regular on my blogs, but I have been a garage sale regular. I’ve acquired a lot of chain, some funky charms, some vintage pins and a seriously unusual girl pendent as well as a ray gun.

The Ray Gun

When I’m out and about hunting for strange and unique things, I have two modes of thinking. The first is looking for practical items such as chain, clasps, basic jewelry findings, and beads. I also buy all the cheap jewelry boxes I can find. I decorate or customize them and use them to store my completed pieces. I also plan to use them to display my jewelry when I make the leap to do shows. I find a lot of boxes from the 50’s and 60’s and they always have room for rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. The latest purchase has a musical box component that still works!

The other mode is looking for things that catch my eye and I fall in love with. I don’t always have an idea of how I will use the item. The rule is that if an object entices me to pick it up and ponder it, I buy it. I will spend more money on these finds, but I will also ask what’s the best price the seller can do. Remember to let them throw out the first price. Most of the time they give you a better deal than you would offer. The truth is, I’m probably the only person who has picked it up because it’s just that out of the ordinary and no one else has a use for it. People love their stuff and want it to go to a good home. If you show interest and inquire about a price, they will negotiate with you.

Love Me Do Bracelet

If possible, talk to the person holding the sale or running the table if it’s a flea market. You will be surprised at how much knowledge you can obtain by sharing what you plan to do with the stuff you buy from them. Sometimes it’s just fun to get a little history on the items you’ve purchased. My experience; people offer to help me get started selling my jewelry, give me advice on what I need to set-up a booth and even offer to give me things I could use for my jewelry. You are now a friend, who loves the same things they do and they want to help you succeed.

On a side note, I wore one of the necklaces I made while g-selling for the first time. I lost count on how many people wanted to see it close-up, asked where I sell my stuff and wanted a business card. HELLO! This little action, created an entire now marketing strategy and endeared me to the people I was purchasing from. It was exciting, inspiring and motivating. Why didn’t I do this before now?

Love It or Leave It Bracelet

All this positive energy invigorated me to create a couple of bracelets. I also wanted to share my girl pendent. I still don’t know what I will do with her but there’s no denying she’s special. BTW, the seller wanted $5 for her and I got her for $3. You have to buy the things you love, and you will find a purpose for it, but there’s nothing wrong with getting them at a discount 🙂

Strange Girl Pendent

Where the heck is Tarkington Prairie?

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Hoot, glass owls on copperI’ve lived in Texas all my life and honestly I’ve never thought too much about it. I guess when you live in a state that still has the right to succeed from the union, tortilla chips created in the shape of Texas and is ultimately famous for the show Dallas and oil wells, you just learn to accept the things that go along with living here.

Living in Houston or Austin, is a world apart from living in a small town in Texas. I grew up in Houston the majority of my elementary life. We moved to Tarkington Prairie at the beginning of my 5th grade year. To say I hated it, would be a lie. Moving from the metropolis of Houston to a tiny spot in East Texas that doesn’t exist as a town, wasn’t that bad. I had a lot of time to learn about myself and experience many animals, reptiles and amphibians. We lived on 10 acres with a variety of barns, outbuildings and fenced plots. The best part of it was that the land behind ours was owned by Champion paper company. It wasn’t fenced and it was kept clear of brush. Huge pine trees wrapped around low water creeks was my playground.

Life is a little harder in the country. If the power goes out, you have no water, because you get water from the well that is electric. The other thing about the country, you experience life and death first hand. From watching a baby calf born to smashing a snake with a shovel, everyday reminds you that life is awesome and fragile at the same time.

Steer, charm necklace

What does all of this have to do with the art I’m creating now? I began working with things I was naturally drawn to and like all artists, pondering why these seemingly disparate objects belong together and make sense in your head as well as visually. Sometimes art starts with a memory, sometimes art brings back a memory. Either way, we understand ourselves a little better and it drives us to create.

Chicken, charm necklace

Most of the new pieces came from my second home in Tarkington Prairie. Once ashamed of living there, I can now laugh at the crazy celebrations such as Dairy Day and anointing a Dairy Day Queen to lead the parade of pick-up trucks down the main street of Cleveland, Texas. I can relish the time I spent with cows, horses, pigs, chickens and ducks and the complete freedom I experienced while trekking through the woods behind our house.

Texas is my home and will always be my home. I live in Austin now and I adore it. I do miss seeing loose cows in the road, rabbits running across your path and the occasional jump from seeing a snake. I’ve just learned how to enjoy those memories and let them inspire me in a whole new way.

Austin, charm necklace within watch

For those of you who are curious, here is Tarkington Prairie

How Daylight Savings Time knocked me off the wagon.

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Daylight Savings Time...or Death by Daylight?

WOW!!! It’s been way too long since I’ve posted. I wish I could say I’ve been busy making jewelry to sale, but I haven’t. I have started several pieces but I have had a serious bout of bad time management. Is it just me, or does everyone try to get more done when there is more light at the end of the day? It’s the same 24 hours but somehow, I’ve managed to add more things to get done just because it doesn’t get dark until 7:30 – 8:00 pm. Arrggg. I’m going to fix it this week. I will rule the Daylight Savings Time demon.

A few positive things have occurred in the past 10+ days despite my DST demon. I created a beautiful charm bracelet for my daughter’s friend Mazzy. Isabelle picked all of the pearls and the crystals and I put it together. I enjoyed collaborating with her.

Mazzy's Bracelet. Her favorite color is green.

I admit that because she is only 9, I don’t give her the credit she deserves for having a great eye for color and design. This experience has made me determined to work with her more and trust her judgement. This is what leads to great artists, someone taking the time to take notice of your abilities and encourage you.

Garage sale finds have also been on the up and up. At one sale I bought a bag of buttons and a bag of beads.

bag of buttons purchased for $1

I wasn’t sure about the beads until I saw the chicken, then I knew I had to have it.

random bag of glass beads

At one sale, I got a great bundle deal for $4. I’ve actually worn one of the necklaces and received several compliments. I wish I would have made it, but I love it none the less. My four dollars bought 4 necklaces, 1 pair of earrings, 2 bracelets, one a copper cuff, a silver decorative key, and a little wooden box with brass sides. I think she was still sleepy when she made the deal. A couple more sales and I acquired two small tackle boxes. They have the see-through top that divides all the little lures, one was 50 cents and I paid a whole dollar for another. Those things are great for storage and much more expensive in a craft store. Did I mention that I really love that chicken!

The infamous chicken charm

Other big news, big to me anyway. I ordered chain, brass, antiqued copper and gun metal from chaingallery.com. They are an awesome wholesaler of chain and I got some great deals. The chain prices are basically half of what you would pay retail. The more you order, the cheaper it gets. I hate to cheat on my beloved bead stores but, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I’m super excited to get it and start creating. As much as I love my g-sales, finding good quality chain is probably the hardest thing to do. Many times people will realize they have sterling. They price it accordingly which is more expensive than I can purchase it from a store. Brass and copper are really hard to come by and they are my favorite to use in my designs. I have found a few nice brass and copper chains at sales, but it’s just not enough. I had to find another outlet for quality chain and that’s one of the things I accomplished.

I guess these 10+ days haven’t been wasted; they just unfolded in ways that I didn’t expect or plan. I’m sure this is a good lesson, but I need a little more order and planning in my life. So now I’m officially back on the creating jewelry and blogging wagon. I find myself armed with my new g-sale finds, chain, and the knowledge of my daughter’s creative abilities.

I will slay that DST demon and grasp just a bit more control over the daylight filled hours. DST lasts until November 4th so the sooner I get a hold of it the more time I will have, or something like that…..

Chained

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The brass chain

Charm bracelets are hard to make. I’ve been working on the same one for several days. I have an idea in my head and I have some awesome charms, buttons and beads to add to it. I just can’t seemed to place the items on the chain in a pattern that suits me.

1 option

Buttons

It’s much easier when you make a beaded bracelet and can make a patten with the beads or just add them randomly using color or size as a guide.

A necklace is simple because their is one focal point, the front of the chest. The catch is almost always in the back so it’s usually not a consideration in the design. Every once in a while you will see a toggle or a lobster claw as part of the “front” of a design.

Another option

A bracelet is in the round so the focal point changes depending on how it’s resting on the wrist. The catch has to be incorporated into the design because it’s always visible.

Honesty, I’ve probably made 10 different bracelets in my attempt to complete this one. I’ve used a lot of metal making connectors. I consider that practice, although I hate to waste supplies. I’ve added and removed buttons and beads so many times I’ve lost count.

Red flat beads

Finishing this bracelet will happen. The labor costs alone on this piece are ridiculous which leaves me no choice. For this reason the labor will now be referred to as “schooling”. I hope my “schooling” paves the way for many new designs that happen a little faster.

Another idea

I’ve never been one to begrudge gaining knowledge through experience. New things take time to learn and it’s not a wasted effort for me. I do know chained is where I’ll be until I find the key, or figure out how to make this damn bracelet work.