20 September 2008

Making Beaded Butterflies With Little Butterflies

I've been extremely busy this past week. Managed to work on one pendant and then put in most of my time in the private after-school lessons I've committed myself to. The two young girls I have lessons with have been asking me and asking me to have a lesson in jewelry-making with them and I finally succumbed to their pleadings last week.

I found this real easy and beautiful Beaded Butterfly project in Craftbits and used it for the lesson. I prepared the beads (plastic and some glass bits I have in my bead collection), copper wire (20-g) and some glitter thread I found in a small school supply shop near my house.

I modified the Instructions and re-wrote them with simpler words so the girls can have some reading practice. Then I used the illustrations in the site to make a worksheet on sequencing using pictures and a blank chart I made for the kids.

We spent about an hour making the Butterflies. They asked that it be made into pendants they can use. I didn't argue.

We spent another hour completing the worksheets. I had to make it look like it was serious educational business. Lol. They seemed to like the activity and asked me when we'd do this again. Though I said I wasn't sure when, I do have another completed project for them to work on - Worksheets included!

*If you're a teacher and would like to see the Worksheets I prepared for this lesson, send me a message and I'll e-mail them to you. =)

12 September 2008

The Flower Power Challenge (A Craftstylish Challenge)

I'm a member of Craftstylish. I check in almost everyday to find pieces and projects to inspire me. It's a great site for craftsters, members share new ideas to the gallery everyday!

They also issue out Challenges every so often. This time they have a Flower Power Challenge which encourages members to make pieces with the Flower Power theme incorporated in the design. Participants are required to submit their entries following the rules for a particular challenge.

I wasn't really set to enter this challenge. I was quite happy simply being inspired by the site. My sudden organization of my jewelry shelf plus my possession of a sketchbook are exercises which I credit to their contributors.

It is because of the sketchbook that I found myself making a flower bracelet one day. I told myself I'd try and make the sketches I made at least once to see if they were workable and if they looked as good made as they did as ideas. I sketched in flowers the way I like them - a bit like the 70's flower: a lovely round center, five rounded petals, simple lines. I thought they might look good as chain links.

And so I made these pieces. Then decided to wound blue jewelry wire around the petal wires to give it texture and to secure the center in place. I connected the flower links with simple bead links and found myself with a bracelet full of flowers.

Not bad, actually. I feel that I need to tweak it a bit more to satisfy myself that it was done - but as it is, not bad at all.

I then remembered the challenge I recently read about in Craftstylish and thought... what the heck, I'll post this as an entry. And so here we are. Flower Power Bracelet: The Blues came to be.

If you're a crafter, I suggest you join us in Craftstylish. I love the inspiration the galleries provide its members. And the challenges they use to nudge our creative selves into making something aren't bad either.

10 September 2008

Make an Idea Happen

I saw a post on sketching ideas and thought it was a great idea. Though I sometimes use my organizer to draw in some ideas, the sketches would sometimes get lost or drown in my other notes about other things which were not directly related to my jewelry-making.

I started using a pad of tiny post-its I had hanging around. I brought it with me everywhere. Came up with 10 sketches. Drew everything which have been floating in my head for some time and a couple which I used to practice "sketching." (Yes, I practiced to sketch. Weird but true.)

When I had about 10, I scavenged around the house and found a notebook with unlined pages and thought to use it. Just to experiment and see if it was truly helpful to me. I found out it was extremely helpful.

I posted my pink post-its on the first few pages. This would be my idea bank. Everytime I thought of trying one of the sketches, I simply peeled them off the bank and re-posted them into a blank page. I measured and counted beads to use, and noted them down on the sketch. I prepared the components and went and made a few pieces from my sketches. Most turned out to need more tweaking - with the notes on my sketches, I recorded where the mistakes were, too. This would help me make better pieces later - with the exact measurements I needed to make my pieces.

This is a fantastic idea! I suggest crafters to try this for a few days. It's definitely a great exercise in creativity. Plus, it made my crafting more scientific, more organized. I simply love this idea!

Kudos to Kathy Cano-Murillo from Craftstylish who shared her "Why You Should Have a Sketchbook" post with everyone. Thanks for the nudge in the right direction!

05 September 2008

All Done Up

I spent most of yesterday afternoon and this whole morning organizing my jewelry shelf.

It has 4 shelves. I used the first to showcase my handmade pieces. I bought the jewelry organizer in a local steel shop. They have such a selection to choose from! I saw revolving organizers, floor stands, shelf bars and these cute ones I got! Each organizer has 3 rungs which can hold 16 earrings. I modified it a bit to accommodate my necklaces, pendants, bracelets and rings.

The second shelf was for my beads, silver components, stored pieces and reference books on stones and jewelry. I was inspired to organize my beads by color by Craftstylish' Susan Beal in her post: "Organize Your Beads and Charms." The beads are stored in Krisbow containers. Each has 18 dividers. Imagine my surprise when I found out I filled in most of the 5 containers! That means I have 90 different beads - and I haven't even added my glass beads into the collection! I'm buying more containers later so I can store my glass beads and silver findings.

The third shelf holds my tools and spools of copper wire. I use the copper wire for practice as they're cheaper than silver. I have spools and spools of different gauges of these beautifully colored wires.

The last shelf holds another Krisbow container which I've had since I started beading in Bali. Currently it holds odds and ends which includes some forgotten projects, glass and plastic beads and other whatnots. I'm going to go through them later and see which ones I want to keep. I might eventually use that container (bigger than the ones I bought recently) to hold my silver wires.

I'm glad I finally organized that hobby shelf of mine. It looked horrible when I simply stashed stuff into it and was quite an eyesore. A sad statement when we know how beautiful the beads and jewelry pieces are. Now, it looks real nice and tidy - plus I know exactly what I have and where everything is at!

04 September 2008

Friends in Far Places

Haven't seen my friends in Jakarta for some time. We all arrived in Indonesia at the same time and they've been fast friends since. I thought 'twould be nice to send them some of my little creations.

I made a Tree of Life for one of them which I featured in an earlier blog entry. Made three more: two for friends and one for a friend's sister.

A pair of Nest Earrings for one simple lady.

These Nests are made with Pearls, Copper & Silver. Together it gives its wearer a greater sense of personal integrity while facilitation quick wits and improving communication skills.

Pearls give purity and promote faith, charity, and integrity, truth and loyalty. Silver is mystically considered to improve speech, bring eloquence. Copper is said to benefit mental agility.

A pair of Dreamcatcher Earrings for her sister.

This Dreamcatcher uses New Jade, Peridot, Aventurine, Silver & Green Wire. Together it gives its wearer a sense of calm and love for all.

Jade is a stone of fidelity and generosity. Peridot is a stone of compassion. Aventurine gives a sense of calm and balance and enhances happiness. Silver is mystically considered to improve speech, bring eloquence. Green stimulates healing resulting in greater self-love, and thus, love for others.

A Dreamcatcher Pendant for one girly girl.

This Dreamcatcher uses Silver, Cherry Quartz, Rose Quartz and Purple Wire. Together it promotes harmony, encourages unconditional love and opens communication with the environment.

Cherry quartz promotes harmony. Rose quartz is a stone of unconditional love. Silver is mystically considered to improve speech, bring eloquence. Purple is the color for strength, spirituality, passion and meditation.

I made Earring Cards for the earrings. Barb Macey's "How To Make Your Own Earring Cards" was a great help.

I'm sending them out today. I hope they like them. *smile*
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