December 21, 2009

Custom Christmas Gifts

You won't find me complaining about being very, very busy this time of year - I LOVE Christmas and all that it entails, especially all the custom jewelry orders friends have entrusted to me! Here are 6 pieces I finished this weekend: One of the greatest aspects of making and selling jewelry has been all the AMAZING people I had met along the way. Back in April when I "officially" launched my website, one of my sorority sisters took notice and asked if she could host a Bead Up giveaway (my first!). One of the contestants, Nilsa, not only entered to win but also bought a necklace from my shop and lived to blog about it. I always e-mail my customers after each order to thank them for their business and to let them know when I will put the item(s) in the mail. Nilsa wrote back and asked a few questions, and then I wrote her back and asked a few more, and we've been writing back and forth for 7 months now! She's become one of my dearest "bloggin' friends" and customers and I can't wait to actually meet her one day! That said, Nilsa asked that I make one of her gal pals a necklace/earring set for Christmas. In her own words, her friend: "Loves red and orange, and tends towards natural colors (browns, ambers, forest, and olives. She's more conservative on the outside than on the inside, and tends to wear plain clothes but always complains that she's so boring and wishes she could figure out a way to sass it up a bit (that's where your jewelry comes in!) She's tall and athletic and not particularly girly (though she is feminine)." I showed Nilsa a few earth-toned pearls I had in mind and she loved where the necklace was already going and said, "I love your creativity, so I am going to let you play around!" Sounds like a plan to me! After another trip to the Jewelry District, I got to work this weekend. I had recently seen a (grandma-aged) friend of mine wear a super cute long, wrappable pearl necklace of yellows and oranges that she acquired from Alaska. Using this piece as inspiration, I bought orange, green, and brown naturally round fresh-water pearls, in addition to some white coin disc pearls and some super small white pearl beads. I added a few orange and smokey quartz colored crystals, in addition to come deep red semi-precious gemstones to the mix and strung the beads along a yard-long piece of silver wire to create this piece: I finished it off with a re-adjustable chain and clasp so the length can be further varied, and explained to Nilsa that the necklace is the kind where the wearer gets to play and reinterpret the piece - it can be wrapped around the neck 1-4 times (or could even be worn as a chunky bracelet!) and can go with silver or gold accessories, like these matching earrings I made, too.Nilsa loved the piece, and provided great feedback that makes projects like these super fun and rewarding! Thanks again, friend!! Last Friday a co-worker of mine asked if I had any jewelry in stock that she could buy at the last minute for Christmas gifts. I of course did, but also offered to make her a custom piece if time allowed. Ny not only wanted to buy a brass-ringed necklace (as seen on the right - both are sold out!) and a wish-bone necklace for herself, but wanted something in the same color for her friends. "They are rock-and-roll chicks who love necklaces that look like big chains." I told her that, if materials at the store allowed, I can make her 3 long brass-colored, chain-like necklaces that would fall to the waist and be different from each other. She insisted that she trusted my creativity and that I could make whatever I felt was appropriate - sweet! Thankfully, Michael's had what I needed, in addition to a few pieces I had never with before. Here is what I came up with:I even included a little brass bird charm on each of the necklaces to give it a truly Bead Up edge! Additionally, Ny hoped to customize the wishbone necklace for herself, so I added a little red rose charm and bird so she can match her friends! Ny was pleased with the results, especially the addition of the little birdies! Lastly, I helped my friend Alison make a Christmas gift for herself! She bought several copper pieces from me in the past (they go really well with her skin tone and earth-colored wardrobe) and wanted a necklace to match. She expressed that she really liked lockets of any size and the color Fusion Beads calls "Montana Blue." I found a large, 2-sided antiqued copper locket on Etsy and a long matching chain in the Jewelry District. After adding some orange, green, and brown pearls, in addition to a white pearl coin and a little smokey grey stone, we have this:I purposely used this wider-shaped chain for two reasons: 1.) Alison wanted to be able to wear it long or short, depending on her outfit. Since the chain is large enough to be a spring ring for a clasp, all she has to do it put the clasp along the chain where she would like it to fall and is left with the rest of the chain dangling down her back :) 2.) I have found that when making longer necklaces, thinner chain tends to twist and loop around itself, causing not only mess, but also getting in the way of showing the charm's front! Alison loved the piece and couldn't wait to show off her "custom homemade necklace" it off to friends back in North Carolina! Thanks to all these lovely ladies who have made my weekend of jewelry making that much more exciting!


  1. YOU are so incredibly creative. I cannot wait to work on that next custom order ... ahem! Though, I'll most definitely wait patiently until after the holidays. =) xoxo

  2. I think these pieces are Fabulous, Christyn!! I love that necklace and earring set and that locket!!!!! That is some serious eye candy! :>

  3. OOooo....also meant to mention that part of what really attracts me is that they would easily be paired with other jewelry items of different metals....I really enjoy mixing up gold, brass, copper, simply makes me smile! :>

  4. I really like the way you think. Great pieces. I adore copper and alternative metals. So freeing and you can really make chunky fun jewelry with them.
    Hope you have a great Holiday.