July 27, 2010

From Kids Earrings to Sophisticated Necklaces to Wedding Jewelry...

Knowing that I start work in a little over a month (I AM LOVING THIS SUMMER-off STUFF!), I have been spending whatever minute I am not busy at church or with the house on, you guessed it, making jewelry :) Ah, this is the life. Where to being?

A few weeks ago a girl from my church was wearing some super cute earrings. I told her that I liked them... her mom told me that she loves wearing glamorous earrings...  but not the price tag. I told them I could teach her how to make them herself for free. Next think you knew, I had two 11-year old gals (the first brought a friend) and her mom at my kitchen table ready to learn! Making dangle earrings really is quite easy (and after this whole teaching lesson I am going to make a tutorial and start selling DIY earrings kits for kids - not sure why I didn't think of that before!), and these kids (and adult) got it with little instruction! Here is what they created in less than 2 hours!:

Needless to say, I was quite proud :)

Next on the list was several sets of bridal jewelry. Someone contacted me on Etsy awhile back and asked if I could make several sets of my pearl ball necklaces with matching earrings, though change up the color a bit to include white pearl ball rather than a salmon one. Consider it done!

After I sent Laura her earrings and necklaces (I threw in a set for the bride, too!), she wrote:
"I just got them- they are beautiful!!!!!!  I love how everything turned out- thank you so much!!  Thank you for including an extra for myself :) I put it on immediately haha (figure it has to go away till the wedding, but couldn't help myself)- they are so beautiful!!! Thank you so much for working with me on this- was a pleasure!! :) would def recommend to anyone who asks. Thanks again!!!!!!"

I also got a last-minute phone call from a few friends at church stating the need for a mother-of-the-bride necklace for a wedding a few days away! The gals brought the dress that the MOtB planned to wear and we collaborated to make a necklace/earring set of pearls and crystals - my favorite! Best of all, I spotted the MOtB at church the next weekend wearing the pearl and crystal earrings with white jeans and a blue shirt - it was an unexpected match made in heaven! I have since duplicated and posted the earrings on Etsy - thanks for the inspiration, ladies!

Last but most certainly NOT least, one of my most favorite customers turned dear friend (whom we met via this blog, actually!) commissioned me to make a necklace with a rather unique source of inspiration - the colors and art she plans to use for her baby's nursery! Nilsa plans to wear the necklace at her maternity photo shoot in a few weeks, and asked that we focus on turquoise, lime, and orange based on these pieces of art she is loving from Etsy (check out Nilsa's blog for the link to each piece!):
Focusing on the vibrant orange, turquoise, and lime color scheme Nilsa requested, I started by sending her a picture of some beads I had on hand that might work:
From there we agreed on these beads:
Now for the actual layout. I had some lofty ideas for this project, but after a few failed attempts, I knew I could easily do something like this as seen on Michael's.com:
Nilsa and I agreed on making the necklace 3-strands and measuring right above the bust... so I went to work and sent her these pictures along the way to make sure we were on the same page:
After getting her OK, I finished the wire strands off and put it all together on the toggle clasp!
This project was a great way to use some of the more upscale beads I have been collecting but too afraid to use up :) The turquoise, jade, and crystal beads make for one mighty fine statement necklace, if you ask me, and it's not made of plastic! Can't wait to see your maternity shots, Nilsa! Congrats on your pregnancy and thanks for allowing me to be a part of the celebration!

Oh, and I almost forgot. Bead Up has some VERY exciting news! Not only am I now an official business in the State of Missouri (it only took me 2 hours total to get it done - amen for the Midwest!), but I have set a date for the Second Annual Cupcakes, Cocktails, and Creations party! I have been working with local artists and bakers to get some other vendors in on the party, which will be held in my house (again, hooray for Midwest suburban super sizes!). Buckle up, Kansas City, and start saving your spare change!
So save the date for August 28th from 2-5! I couldn't be more excited!

July 19, 2010

When Fabric gets in the mix...

Lately I have been a bit obsessed with textiles. First I have been a little more vicious in incorporating fabric in my jewelry, as seen in this week's new products:
Golden Bohemian Wooden and Fabric necklace, $17

White crystal with blue ribbon and silver broach necklace, $19

Green Gemstone, Wooden Beads, and Purple Ribbon necklace, $23

Party in Pink Faux Pearl and Pink Ribbon necklace, $12

Disco brown ball and lime green necklace, $17

Wooden Beads and Purple Ribbon necklace, $20

And my favorite, this little tulle necklace inspired by some random socialite I saw online
(more on that later this month):
Gold netting and purple pearls necklace, $19

In fact, you can count on more fabric jewelry coming your way - I just signed up for a FABRIC BEAD-MAKING class at the Art Institute here in town and can't wait! (In fact, can I just start my life over and be a professional art student - man all the classes that are offered are SO tempting!). 
Meanwhile, I have been working with the fabric I bought in the garment district in LA, starting with some much-needed curtains for my craft room. I didn't really go into the project with a plan, but one day I was rummaging through my random fabric collection and was reminded of a very random piece of long remnant fabric I bought at a $1/pound store:
Amy Butler "Woodfern Kakhi," though I found it for a ridiculously cheap $.75, you can also find it here on Etsy :)
The fabric was basically being asked to be transformed into curtains - it was literally 5" long and about a 2" wide! I simply folded the fabric long ways, cut it in half, and skipped the sewing machine all together and just pinned the top over on itself to make a little loop for the curtain rod. Voila!
But I had this little lowly piece left:
Which I of course didn't want to go to waste. I had just the solution - a wrist pincushion! Thing was, I had no clue how to make such a thing. Here goes nothing...!
I knew I needed a base so as to prevent the pins from hitting my wrist when worn. The base would also function as the shape for the thing. So I started glue-sticking the fabric on the cardboard...
Then sewed it on to double reinforce it...

And then crammed some stuffing that was left over from my previous pillow project and sewed it shut...

Next was the wrist strap... I used some trim from some other Amy Butler fabric that will be used in a future pillow project (as seen here). First I turned it inside out and sewed it down the side...
Turning it back inside out was the hardest part since it was so thin, and once I figured it out, sewing the fabric together with a stretched elastic piece inside was even harder. Man, I have a WHOLE new respect for those scrunchies that were OH SO popular in the 80's! 
Next I sewed the wrist band to the stuffed topper thing...
And had me a brand new pincushion wristlet!

On that note, if you dig fabric crafts, do check out my friend Linsday's new Etsy shop and her GIVEAWAY with Etsy It Up! Let's wish her well, y'all!

July 14, 2010

Earring :: Ideas :: Inspiration

Poet and feminist Audre Loude once said: "There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt." I have heard this said before of any art form, that there is no "new" art, only reinterpretations of ideas already established. Think about going to a museum, be it modern or antiquity. Have you ever left feeling a deep impulse to just create? Something, anything -- so long as you get your say in the process of making something out of something else. I guess it's the same for those who watch sports and then feel motivated to go to the gym (said activity does not have an effect on me, unfortunately). 
That said, one of my main source of jewelry ideas is spending time in the jewelry department of stores such as Target and Macy's or browsing them online. I have been known to get lost in the sea of Etsy products and sketch some ideas from there, too. This past week I found some super cute earrings at Target and, with the new stash of jewels from LA's jewelry district, one pair lead to two pairs lead to seven new pairs of earrings:

This is the original from Target, priced at $40:

And here is the Bead Up version, priced at $19:
Amethyst, Agate, Pearl, and Crystal earrings, $19 

But then I figured, why stop at gold? Silver rocks, too!
Pink and Pearl Earrings, $18

Then I saw these earrings, originally from Anthropology but no longer on their site:
Which turned into my interpretation (based on the materials I had on hand, of course):
Pink Crystal Drop earrings, $19

And these Anthropology earrings:
Turned into these Bead Up earrings:
Pink Briolette Earrings, $20

Then I just kept going!
Gold and Leaf Gemstone Earrings, $20

Cerulean Blue and Gold Hammered Hoop Earrings, $16

Bridal Pearl and Crystal Earrings, $17

And while I was at it, I remembered a sketch I had drawn last week based on a design I saw in a bead magazine:

Which turned into this -- a new spin on an old classic!
Brass Birdie Goes to its Nest Necklace - Turquoise

I think this is the most productive jewelry makin' day I have had in awhile! 
Here's to another one!