Etsy Bonanza!

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These past two weeks have been crazy busy for me, but I'm finally sculpting out some time for updating my Etsy shop. Here are some of my new treasures, available for purchase on Etsy.












Lovely Brass Butteflies: Earring Project

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Brass is all the rage these days. But, did you know there are all kinds of brass and brass finishes? As I said in my previous post, What Are All Those Metals Anyways: Brass is an allow of copper and zinc, so it's generally darker and not as brilliant as copper. The more zinc, the darker the brass. The more copper, the redder the brass. It tends to be pretty hypoallergenic.



What's The Plan, Stan?
I'm going to walk you through the process of making these simple, but really beautiful earrings, using gold finish brass butterflies, while also giving you a little information about working with brass stampings.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Gold Plated French Earwires
  • 2 Gold Plated 1 inch eyepins
  • 2 5mm crystal quartz rounds
  • 2 12mm Gold Finish Brass Butterflies

Tools Of The Trade:
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Bent Nose Pliers
  • Round Pliers
  • Wire Snips

Process:
  • The actual process for making these earrings is really easy:
    • First connect the eyepin to the butterfly. 
    • Add your crystal quartz round and finish with a wrapped loop.
    • Connect your earwire.
Some Extra Information:
  • Gold Finish Brass is not actually gold plated. The brass has actually been treated with a chemical to make it bright and shiny - like gold. Vintaj brass has been treated with a different solution to make it look tarnished and antique. There are a wide variety of finishes in brass, and all of them are fun to work with.
  • Although brass does tend to be hypoallergenic, I used gold plated findings and earwires for added protection.

C'est Fin!

Bead Artist Showcase
Your work could be right here! Submit your own brass earrings to Creativity In A Nutshell via email to cagarp@plymouth.edu. Feel free to include pictures, anything new you tried and suggestions you have for improvement.

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Diamond Glaze: trials and tribulations

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In my bead and charm-making adventures, I have often heard many people talk about working with Diamond Glaze. I have mostly been tampering with Glossy Accents, but I though, eh, what the heck?! Got ta try something new, right? Well... my first venture with Diamond Glaze was in my Artistry Beads Tutorial, and things could have gone better.

Problems:
  • I found that the Diamond Glaze quickly began to set and harden, much like nailpolish lacquer. 
  • There were literally millions of big and little bubbles, which were already in the bottle. I know that if you shake the bottle, you're going to get bubbles. I didn't shake the bottle. Still there were all these annoying little bubbles! Gah!
Good Things:
  • I really like the nice, solid and hard finish with the Diamond Glaze. It's very shiny, and shiny is good :)
  • It has no smell that I noticed
  • It didn't take long to dry... but then again that's a good and a bad thing
  • I have been told that you can mix watercolors etc into it, and it's water-soluble, so that adds other options, however, I have not yet experimented with that aspect of Diamond Glaze yet
What's the Plan, Stan?
  • Well, I am going to continue to experiment with the Diamond Glaze to see if I can't get something to work. As I find solutions, I will post them to keep you all updated!
  • If you have any tips or tools of the trade to use with Diamond Glaze, please, share! Email me at cagarp@plymouth.edu
Where can you buy some Diamond Glaze of your own?
Art fire

Art Beads: tutorial

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There's a lot of beautiful jewelry out there. I can get caught up on Etsy for hours and hours, just engrossed in all the wonderful ways people create jewelry. It truly is an art. That word right there, art, is the key to what I aspire to with my jewelry. I believe any necklace, earrings, ring, bracelet should be a unique and inspiring work of art.
One way to reach that goal, is to create interesting and innovative designs. Another way, however, is to create my own little art beads and charms. I have been working towards that with my scrabble tile charms and pendants. My next new idea is to create miniature watercolor paintings, which I will epoxy onto a shape and create a miniature mounted painting, which can strung on a necklace, or dangled from an earrings.
I am just in the beginning stages of this technique, but I am so excited about it, I just had to share the idea! I have a great deal of experience with watercolor painting. To see a collective gallery of my watercolor works, skip over to my art website.
On a side note, I will also be testing out Diamond Glaze for this tutorial. Since this is my first time using it, I have come up with a lot of problems and am searching for solutions. Stay posted to learn more about my adventures with Diamond Glaze!

What's The Plan, Stan?

  • I'm going to walk you through my initial process of creating these fun, original works of art, with additional information on paint and paper.


Ingredients:

  • First of all, you will need watercolor paper
    • A note about paper: you will quickly notice that realm of artist watercolor paper is vast, and rightfully so. Different kinds and qualities of papers will have different affects. Here are the basics:
      • Cold press paper will have a more rough, more visible texture to it. This can be good or bad, depending on what you want.
      • Hot press paper is the opposite, which a much smooth surface, and minimal visible texture.
      • To begin with, student grade is fine, at least until you know if you like this idea or not.
  • You will also, of course, need watercolor paints
    • A note about paints: while I would not suggest buying a crayola watercolor paint pallet  you should not spend a gazillion dollars on the firt project. Try a cheap boxed tube set for $6-$7 at Michaels
  • For this adventure, we are going to work with two scrabble tiles to mount our pictures on. A - because we are (hopefully) already familiar with them, and we already have some (again, hopefully)
    • If you have something else you can mount your paintings onto, by all means, try it out, and feel free to let me know how it went via cagarp@plymouth.edu
  • Epoxy - there are tons out there but E9000 is a good one
  • Mounting bail 
  • Diamond glaze, or similar
  • Modge Podge to seal the painting


Tools Of The Trade:

  • Fine round point watercolor brushes - synthetic work just fine
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Masking tape
  • Watercolor pallet (you can get one for $.99)
  • Art cloth - any clean old rag will do
  • Mechanical pencil

Process:

  • Carefully trace the scrabble tile on the watercolor paper, using a mechanical pencil. Make sure the lead is pressed right up against the tile.


  • Next, keeping an extra boarder of about 1/2 inch, cut out the square.
  • Tape down the paper, lining up the edge of the masking tape with the edge of the traced scrabble tile. Watercolor paper gets distorted as the fibers expand and soak up the pigment, but if taped down, it will shrink back to its normal shape.


  • Paint your design/picture using whatever variety of watercolor techniques you know. Allow to dry completely. Remove the tape gently, so not to rip.



  • Trim off the extra border around the painting. 


  • At this point, you may want to prep the scrabble tile. You could paint it, stamp it, do anything at all. Be creative! You may want to seal the scrabble tile with a coat of Modge Podge or lightly watered down craft glue.
  • Attach the painting to scrabble tile using Modge Podge, or basic crafting glue. 


  • Turn the scrabble tile face down and trim off the extra paper.


  • Seal top of painting with a coat of Modge Podge.
    • Don't use watered down glue, as the water will cause the painting to smear.
  • Epoxy the bail to back of the scrabble tile.
  • Coat one side at a time with Diamond Glaze or Glossy Accents and allow to dry completely.




C'est Fin!

Bead Artist Showcase
Your work could be right here! Submit your own artwork beads to Creativity In A Nutshell via email to cagarp@plymouth.edu. Feel free to include pictures, anything new you tried and suggestions you have for improvement.

More Similar Fun Stuff!
Project: Scrabble Tile Jewelry
Tutorial: Scrabble Tile Pendants and Charms

Just What ARE All Those Metals?

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Even jewelry and bead artists with some experience behind their belts can have a hard time figuring out just what kind of metal it is they're dealing with. Jewelry buyers generally don't know either, and this can lead to a lot of confusion. 


What's The Plan, Stan?

  • I'm going to break down the basic details of the various metals you may come across in your jewelry travels.

Beading Metals:

  • Stirling Silver is softer and more malleable than most metals. It is prone to oxidization, when the metal begins to turn somewhat black.
  • Gold
    • When you work with gold, you will work with different gold carats. The carat measures the proportion of gold to other metal alloys, which make up the actual metal. The higher the carat, the higher the gold content, the higher the cost.
    • There are a few different colors of gold:
      • Yellow: pure gold with copper and zinc
      • Rose: pure gold with copper
      • White: pure gold with white metals such as silver and palladium
  • Rhodium 
    • A white metal, very similar to Platinum and is often used to enhance the color of white gold
  • Platinum
    • A very pure white metal when used in jewelry. It is dense and heavy and wicked expensive.
  • Titanium
    • A silver-grey-white-ish metal and has a wide array of colors. It is very strong, and very lightweight, however, it cannot be soldered.
  • Surgical Steel
    • Refers to a stainless steel, of the same grade that is used for surgical implanted or tools. It's an alloy of iron and carbon with chromium, molybdenum and a wee bit of nickel. It's actually pretty similar to Titanium, but not nearly as expensive.
  • Copper
    • A reddish-goldish metal, very maleable and inexpensive. It's recently very popular in jewelry, but you have to worry about oxidization.
  • Brass
    • An allow of copper and zinc, so it's generally darker and not as brilliant as copper. The more zinc, the darker the brass. The more copper, the redder the brass. It tends to be pretty hypoallergenic.
  • Base Metal
    • May be gold or silver colored, and thus all the more confusing
  • Plated Metals
    • Plated metals has a base of a non-precious metal, such as pewter or brass, which is covered in a thin layer of a precious metal, such as silver or gold. 
    • The good thing is, plated metals are cheaper. However, you risk wearing through the layer of plated metal. 
  • Vermeil
    • This is a type of plating process, however, rather than using a non-precious base, it uses a sterling silver base
  • Gold Filled
    • AKA : Gold Overlay or Rolled Gold Plated
    • Has several mechanically bonded layers, in which a non-precious base is covered with the outside layer of at least 10 Karat gold.

Callie's Creations : New Etsy Items

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On October first, I re-opened my jewelry shop on Etsy: Callie's Creations! Of course, my computer promptly crashed right after. I am back home this weekend, getting caught up on all things jewelry. Here are some neat and beautiful things you can find in my Etsy shop. Take a look around and let me know what you think!

African Inspired Necklace



Computer Girl Necklace



Autumn Necklace




Maple Leaves Dangle Earrings



Upcycled Pink Computer Fuse Earrings



Purple Days


Oh No It's Broken : Fixing Jewelry

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Don't you hate it when you discover a great necklace or bracelet, and you wear it all the time in the next couple days... and then! Boom! It's broken!

What's The Plan, Stan?
Well, there's no use crying over spilled milk! Rather than saying audios to your new find, either fix it yourself, or get it fixed by someone with the know-how and supplies. My professor/advisor/boss (Ann)  purchased this really great necklace a little while back:


I'm going to walk you through the process for fixing this particular necklace, and in doing so, give you some tips on how to fix your own (or someone else's) jewelry.

Ingredients and Tools of the Trade:
For every fix you're going to need different things.

  • Generally, you will need your usual tools (needle nose pliers, wire snips, possible round nose pliers)
  • You may need to replace some beads that were lost. You can either purchase beads as close as possible to the remaining beads, or chose to replace all of the beads. For this necklace, I replaced all of the delica seed beads.
  • Depending on the style of the necklace you may some findings - jump rings, a new clasp, crimp beads, crimp bead covers etc

Process:


  • First, identify all of the problems: If you look on the top right, the jewelry artist didn't do a great job securing the ends of her tigertail beading wire. This is very important anyways, but with this particular piece, which has three separate strands, it becomes even more important that you make sure all three strands are secure. It turns out that only one of the three on the right side were nice and snug, so the other two broke and the little seed beads were lost. Also, Ann mentioned that she wasn't a big fan of the extender chain on the necklace - and I agree - it takes away from the overall aesthetic of the necklace.
  • Next, take some pictures. You don't want to start attacking the piece you're supposed to fix and then forget what it looked like to begin with. I took just one picture, since this is a fairly simple piece, but if you are working on something more complex, you may want to take a few more detail shots. 
  • Measurements will be key if working with tiny beads, like these seed beads. I measured the sections of seed beads between the little green chip beads, just to make sure all the spacing would be correct in the final product. 
  • Next I disassembled the necklace. AHHH! This can be chaotic and crazy if you are not careful. I know I have mentioned using a bead board before, but now I must really stress the importance of having something to keep all your beads organized and in order. 
  • Once everything is laid out, restring the necklace. Remember, there were two problems:
    • The loose wire ends - I used a crimp bead to connect the three strings together just one inch after the last large bead. Then, I separated the middle string, and trimmed the other two as close the the crimp bead as possible, thus taking the three strands down to one, further away from the clasp. This will put far less stress on the crimped wires, making it less likely to fray or slip out of the crimp. Of course, I covered it with a lovely crimp bead cover :)
    • The extender chain was ugly - so I just made the last section of seed beads a bit longer, and because it was narrowed down to one strand, rather than three, it should be more comfortable on the neck anyways. One crimp bead on either side secured the clasp. 

C'est Fin!





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Upcycling Vintage Costume Jewelry

Ucycling Vintage Costume Jewelry

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I love the unreserved sparkle of vintage costume jewelry. It's so beautiful and reminds me of playing princess when I was younger. It's easy to find some vintage costume jewelry of your own. I got my pieces from a yard sale ages ago and just recently had the time and inspiration to play around with them. Keep your eyes open for broken or incomplete pieces that you can modify.




What's The Plan, Stan?
Using a few different vintage costume jewelry pieces and some lovely Swarovski beads, we are going to create an entirely new necklace and set of earrings to show off some lovely sparkle.

Ingredients:
  • For this specific necklace, I used an old necklace with these really pretty metal flowers set with Austrian Crystals and tiny pearls in the middle, as well as an old clip on earring. I took the necklace apart, using just one of the flowers for the pendant, and the main earring piece is also going to be used. There were great crystal dangles on the earring as well, which I will use on the necklace to accent the pendant. Oh also, I used the lovely chain from the necklace, complete with the clasp. to complete my new necklace. If you can't find vintage pieces quite like this, you have a couple options:
    • Modify the design! You're a crafty individual and I have faith in you! (Please send some ideas, I'd love to hear them!)
    • Look around on the various beading sites to see if you can find something similar.
  • Peach colored fresh water pearls
  • 6mm Swarovski Crystal Silk faceted rounds
  • 4mm Lacy agate rounds
  • 3mm silver plated jump rings
  • 6mm silver plated jump rings
  • 4 silver plated crimp beads
  • 4 silver plated crimp bead covers
For the Earrings:
Tools Of The Trade:
  • Bent nose pliers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Round pliers
  • Wire Snips

Process:





  • First, I created the pendant for the necklace. This process will totally depend upon what sort of fun findings you have found. I created a nice dangley chain using jumprings from the upcycled vintage earring and attached the great crystal dangles. Then, I attached the earring to a headpin with a beautiful Swarovski faceted round, connected to my upcycled flower finding. I'm really pleased with the affect.



  • Once I was satisfied with the pendant, I attached two 4mm jumprings to the flower petals, allowing me to attach wire for the necklace on either side. String the wire through a lacy agate round before crimping, in order to protect the necklace from getting too worn and breaking. Crimp and cover with silver plated crimp bead covers.
  • Now just string the beads following the same pattern for both sides of the necklace:
    • 3 freshwater pearls
    • attach your crystal dangle using a 4mm silver plated jumprings
    • 3 freshwater pearls
    • 1 lacy agate bead
    • 1 Swarovski faceted round
    • 1 lacey agate bead
    • 2 freshwater pearls
    • Crystal dangle
    • 2 freshwater pearls
    • 1 lacy agate bead
    • 1 Swarovski faceted round
    • 1 lacey agate bead
    • 2 freshwater pearls
    • Crystal dangle
    • 2 freshwater pearls
    • 1 lacy agate bead
    • 1 Swarovski faceted round
    • 1 lacey agate bead
    • 2 fresh water pearls
    • 2 lacey agate beads
    • crimp bead
    • 1 lacy agate bead
  • String your wire through a 4mm silver plated jumpring, then back through the agate bead and crimp bead. Crimp and cover with the crimp bead cover.
  •  Attach jumpring to upcycled chain. If the clasp is still intact, use it! If not, attach another one using a 4mm silver plated jumpring.
  • For the earrings: Place first a Swarovski faceted round, then a roundel, then a lacy agate round. Finish with a wrapped loop. Attach to the silver plated french earwires.


A note about lacy agate : agate is a natural gemstone that comes in a million different shapes, colors etc... I happened to have to really lovely, but also very pale, blue lacy agate rounds in my bead supplies. For this set, I wanted something that was light in color, which would enhance the overall light feel of the necklace. If you can't find any light blue lacy agate, go with something light in color and you'll be good to go.

C'est Fin!






Bead Artist Showcase
You work could be right here! Submit your own upcycled vintage costume jewelry to Creativity In A Nutshell via email to cagarp@plymouth.edu. Feel free to include pictures, anything new you tried and suggestions you have for improvement.

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Monday Madness: Postage Stamp Earrings Project

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Create the look of funky foreign ephemera stamps with these post-office inspired earrings.



What's The Plan, Stan?
  • Use two postage stamps (either real, or not :) to create twin scrabble tiles charms, which will be used to make a simple, yet distinct pair of earrings.
Ingredients:

  • Two scrabble tiles
  • Two stamps (I bought a small pack of scrap booking stamps - made to look like they're from all over the world, however, there are literally tons of options out there. You can use some stamps you have in your own collections, you can buy some real exotic stamps online, you can make your own...)
  • Tacky Glue
  • Glossy Accents (or similar)
  • Two eyepins
  • Two ear wires
  • Four large jumprings
  • Two small jumprings
  • Two pyrite rondelles
  • Two shell 4 mm rounds
Tools Of The Trade:
  • Drill with small bit
  • Scrap piece of wood
  • Paintbrush
  • Needlenose pliers

Process:
  • Measures and mark two holes on each scrabble tile - one on top, one on bottom. Drill :)
  • Cover blank side with think coat of lightly watered down glue. Place postage stamps on top, then add another coat of glue. Allow to dry. Repierce the holes with a thumbtack, safety pin etc
  • At this point you can add further decoration to the tile with Pearl Ex Pigments, sharpies, colored pencils etc. I left mine as it is. Allow to dry completely.
  • Cover each surface with glossy accents.
  • Once the tile is completely dried, add the jumprings. Attach the earwires to the top jumprings by linking them with the small jumpring. 
  • Connect the eyepin to the bottom jumpring. Add the pyrite rondelle, then the shell round. Close with a wrapped loop.

C'est Fin!

Bead Artist Showcase
You work could be right here! Submit your own BLANK to Creativity In A Nutshell via email to cagarp@plymouth.edu. Feel free to include pictures, anything new you tried and suggestions you have for improvement.

More Similar Fun Stuff!

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