Thursday, January 15, 2015

Working on Lately

I have been working on some new findings for my shop. Since I enjoy banging metal, that have been my focus!

I have been hammering, stamping and antiquing copper pieces that can be used for earrings, necklace charms, sun catchers, dream catchers and other crafts! 
Calm and Serenity Charms
Using affirmation words, I have been listing them in 2 pairs of related words.
Create and Inspire Charms
I have also added handmade sterling silver earring wires to my shop.
Handcrafted Ear Wires
Making little polymer clay findings has been fun too! I need to experiment more here since I'm not super happy with how the gemstones look on the dark clay. So I will have to try some lighter tones or painting the clay. 
Maybe when I try making something with them I will may change my mind in how I feel about them!
Here is a necklace I made for myself with some of the polymer clay components I received from Sharyl's Jewelry.
I love the warmth and chunkiness of the final piece!

Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful, creative week ahead! ~Val

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Earring Studs and A Cheese Bake

For a long time I had only been making earring studs in sets due to time constraints. Now I have time to post single pairs in variety of gemstones! Available in my Etsy shop

Cheese Bake
This was delicious and easy!
It came out looking nothing like the inspiration pin I got the idea from here. It seemed to collapse because the veggies I used shrank when cooked!

It is made in a spring pan so you can hopefully remove it once cooked and have a perfectly shaped delight. That was not exactly how it went for me. I did oil the pan edges first just in case. The oven was preheated at 425F.
Any combo of veggies and cheese can be used for this. 

I started with thinly sliced butternut squash on the bottom as sort of a crust. 
Then added spinach. Then some cheese.
Then yellow bell pepper and portabella mushrooms. Then more cheese (one can never have too much cheese)! 
I also put in a layer of tomatoes and chopped cauliflower in here. The cheeses used were a combo of mozzarella, asiago and shredded Mexican cheese.
It came out collapsed even though I tightly packing the ingredients to the top as I was adding them. That was ok though. Between Jim and I, this only lasted 2 days! 

It tastes a lot like a quiche, but without the eggs. Next time we will try different veggies and maybe different cheeses!

Thank you for stopping by! Stay warm if you are in one of those cold spots. This past week was rough in Massachusetts! ~Val

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Eyeglass Necklaces and Sharyl's Jewelry

New Eyeglass Chains
I'm trying out this necklace style in my shops.
The wearer simply slides 1 eyeglass arm through the ring of the necklace to keep them handy. This earthy piece is available in my etsy shop

Sharyl's Jewelry
Sharyl is a talented jewelry artisan. Besides creating one of a kind jewelry, she also makes findings and beads for us to work with!

I received these polymer clay goodies from Sharyl.

 and wintery stamped metal. 
 It arrived in such beautiful packaging too!
I look forward to incorporating these into my jewelry.

I have a lot of favorites from her shops so it was difficult to choose only a few to show!
Shades of Gray Necklace
I love how she paints findings.
Red Patina Earrings
These copper pieces are really cool.
Copper Findings
This heart has me thinking of the upcoming Valentine's Day!
Heart Pendant
To see more of Sharyl's work, check out:

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed a peek at Sharyl's Jewelry!

Have a great week and a strong start to 2015! ~Val

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Vintage Jewelry

I had some time to go through my grandmother's pieces. We do have different tastes so there are only 3 pieces I will keep as is to wear, enjoy and stay in the family.

The flower screwbacks are sterling silver with an amazing patina! While I'm not used to wearing earrings for non-pierced earrings, but I think I can handle wearing these.
Pearls are always up my alley! This long costume strand of pearls will get plenty of wear.
This bracelet looks beautiful on! It is probably not that old. 

When I Googled paz jewelry I couldn't find anything out about this. There is an Israeli designer but it appears he only works in sterling silver. The rest of the Googling brought up Pez candy! If you are familiar with this, please share. 
With some of the brooches, I'm thinking of working them into necklaces!
With clip on earrings, I'm thinking cocktail rings!
There was also a costume scarab bracelet with 2 of each stone so these may be really sweet as earrings.
I love old white plastic beads. There were 2 strand I have undone. The beads need to be cleaned and then they will work great into summery pieces.
It is time to say Happy New Year already! I wish you all a happy and successful 2015. 

2014 was a crazy year for me quitting my full time job to go self employed, selling my house and moving in with Jim. All those transitions went incredibly smooth ensuring me that the decisions were all good ones. It will be my first full year being self employed. Yay! 

Thank you for stopping by! Enjoy moving into the new year. ~Val

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Gift Making Fun!

Snowflake Obsidian
These snowflake obsidian earrings are accented with sterling silver. Why have I never used my triangular pliers for ear wires before? I love the look! These are available in my Etsy shop.

Making Gifts
One of my favorite parts of making gifts is getting outside my comfort zone and creating things I don't normally make. These things are for my nieces. Hopefully I did ok with the teen pieces. I'm so not cool, but think I made some cool stuff.

I would love to make one of these chain necklaces for myself. The black chain is plated aluminum so it is really light to work with. The discs are actually recycled from an old pair of earrings.
An initial necklace.
I'm still working on my clay skills when I find time. Fortunately I have been super busy this holiday season so those windows of time have been rare!
I wasn't too keen on this gold clay at first because of the streaks of darkness that I can't get rid of. Now I see it as a marvelous effect!
I like the messy texture on the heart. It was not intended but it looks neat against the pretty crystals.
What little girl doesn't love some colorful sparkles?
I tried a new snack recipe from Pinterest. They are honey glazed walnuts. The only other ingredients besides walnuts and honey are cayenne pepper and salt. 
Quite delicious! Quick and easy to make too in the toaster oven too. The recipe recommends trying other nuts as well as other spices so I plan on playing around with ideas!

Thank you for stopping by! Wishing you all who celebrate, a very merry Christmas!!! ~Val

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Whoops Blog Hop

Whoops Blog Hop!
The Whoops Blog Hop is my first ever blog hop that I've participated in! This hop is hosted by Cynthia of Antiquity Travelers. She realized she had an overage of fabulous large (16mm) glass pearls from ZNet Shows. So she decided to have fun with these by sending them out to fellow bloggers to create whatever is desired.

Please be sure to stop by these blogs to see what they created with the pearls!
Bobbie     Bead Song Jewelry 
Christine   One Kiss Creations
Hope    Crafty Hope
Linda  Lindy's Designs
Therese Therese's Treasures
Cynthia (our hostess) Antiquity Travelers

What did I make? Well since big pearls are a personal favorite of mine to wear (real, fake it just doesn't matter) I knew I would make something for myself!

I used 1/4 inch copper cuff bracelet blanks to create coils. I just happened to have 6mm glass pearls on hand in the same color that fit perfectly in the coils to keep them from moving around. They also add interest as they peak through the coils!
I left them in the slightly beat up state since I think they will have a cool rustic look as the copper oxidizes.
The copper wire I had on hand to make a clasp was already slightly oxidized.

Here is a dreaded selfie with my new necklace. I always feel weird taking them. 
Thank you Cynthia for inviting me into this blog hop! I enjoyed the challenge. 

Thank you to all my readers for stopping by! I hope you are enjoying the holiday season. It will be over quickly!  ~Val

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Adventures in Clay

Adventures in Clay
So I have been trying my hand at clay. Very relaxing!

This metallic polymer clay is not that easy to work with. See the roughness and cracking? That was not on purpose! However I like how well it takes stamp impressions.
I made myself some earrings studs using a mold. The camera makes the color look odd but they are nice creamy white.
I tried some different methods with this one. The following were used: a clay roller, metal stamps, craft scissors and silicone molds. I didn't notice the little speck on the larger flower until after it came out of the oven! So I think I need to do a once over with my glasses on before baking. 
I tried a flower to practice petal shaping. Of course more practice and youtube video watching is needed!
A snowman! Here I got a little better after learning the trick of rubbing alcohol and a q-tip for smoothing and cleaning the clay before baking. White is definitely a challenge to work with. Yes his carrot nose is red since I didn't have any orange clay. I tried to texturize the stick arms to look like real sticks.

Then I wanted to try adding other elements to the clay such as stones, glass and wire. Stone and glass adhere well when baked. Metal on the other hand needs to be worked into the clay so the clay bakes around it securely. 

I had my niece in mind for these girly fun pieces. However the bonding adhesive I used turned yellow when baked! So much to learn. I guess things that may need a little extra bonding need to be added after baking.
Here I tried clear liquid polymer clay which add a sheen. Apparently it needed to be spread better and of course the adhesive showing again. So in the future I would need to do the pieces separately then adhere them after baking.

I also need to use a magnifying glass before baking! Why? Well I never seem to notice those little imperfections like some traces of red clay seem to have got on the flower. 
I love this stone looking clay! It comes in other tones and cures rock solid. Fantastic! 

I'm not sure where I'm going with clay but I enjoy playing with it on my free time. Eventually something will call out to me! So I will continue to play until I have techniques down well.

In the meantime, some of these pieces will be turned into fridge magnets!

Thank you for stopping by. Enjoy your week ahead! ~Val