A Frenzy of Creativity

I have set a goal to exercise my creative muscles more often this year. Therefore, I’ve been spending more time with my bead boxes and pliers lately.


These are the results just from yesterday!! I got into a serious groove for a couple hours.

I took brand new photos of most of my Etsy items, which you can view here at my shop. There’s chainmaille, there’s wire-wrapping, there’s even regular beaded stuff. Check it out! And rest assured that supporting my shop doesn’t just support me: every dime I take in gets spent at other Etsy shops!

A little bit late – New Etsy Items for August

Having skipped July, there was no way I was going to skip listing new items this month. SIX new items went live on August 2, and now you’re going to get a peek at several of them at one time!
These are not all that I’ve got in my shop, so I encourage you to check it out and have a look at everything. If you see something you like, here’s a coupon code for you: SHELLS — this code will save you 15% off any purchase!
After you’ve shopped to your heart’s content at my shop, pay a visit to my good friend Kako! She and I partner up on our artistic ventures. Here’s her own post about this month’s listings, and this is her shop. I’ve got my eye on her Pretty in Pink earrings, so you gotta beat me to them!

Pink Ombre Wire Wrapped Triple Glass Pearl Earrings
This is one of two pair of lovely ombre earrings. This pair is white, pale pink, and raspberry, and the other is white, smoky grey, and charcoal. Each of the smooth glass pearls is hand-wrapped with silvery wire.
I was inspired to make these while I was prepping the materials for the tutorial event a few weeks ago. All of those lovely pearls together, I just couldn’t resist mixing up the colors.

Teal and Copper Wire Wrapped Glass Pearl Earrings

Here’s another inspiration from the tutorial event. One of the other women chose this color combination and I fell directly in love with it. I came right home that night and made these. These are just one pearl on each ear, but if you prefer the look of the double pearl earrings (like these new Plum ones, or these Charcoal ones), I am of course happy to create a custom item for you.

Bird's Nest necklace with caramel satin cord
If your neck is feeling bare and lonely, here’s a lovely bird family to keep it company. I fell in love with this little metal pendant a few months ago, but I felt sad for them that their nest was empty. I fixed that with a small egg-shaped iridescent bead and some glue. 🙂 The cord is doubled over and fastens on the righthand side of the pendant, which makes it great for people who have dexterity problems – no blind fastening, and no need to get help!

Copper Japanese Flower Chainmaille Bracelet

Here’s my last new item for the month: my beloved flower maille, in a bracelet! This bracelet is made entirely of copper rings, woven together by hand. This particular one is made of 8 individual flowers, which may be a bit big. Check the item details on Etsy to learn more.
If you like my flower maille, you may be interested to know that I’m planning to stock a few different variations of it! Keep an eye out for them. I also currently have several other items made this way: a watch in dark silver as well as one in copper, earrings in many colors, and a fantastic triangular necklace!

That’s all I have for this month. But I’ve already completed some new items for September, and I have plans for many many new items as well.
Would you like a hint about what’s to come? Why not!
1 – the completed items are strongly tied to one of the most popular book series ever written.
2 – the planned items are all inspired by my recent costuming project.

😀 Leave your guesses in the comments! Maybe I’ll have something special for you if you guess correctly. 😉

Wire-wrapping Pearls

Why hello there, all. Tomorrow afternoon, I’m acting as, well I suppose as a hostess, of  a special event for our FRG (military family organization). Our leader had the brilliant idea of a “Pinterest Party” and I must say I love it. We’re doing 3 crafty tutorials, and bringing yummy appetizers, and there’ll be decorations of course – like a real life Pinterest! I’m super excited and honored to share my wire-wrapping technique with the other women in the company.

I’m also excited and honored to share it with you! I’m posting this here as a reference for the FRG, and as a full tutorial for everybody else. If you’d like to know more about my appetizer, please check out my Dornish Peppers post from yesterday.

But let’s get on with this. What is it that we’re making today?

These are my Smoky Charcoal Wire-Wrapped Double Glass Pearl earrings, currently for sale on my Etsy shop. You can, if you wish, purchase this pair, or commission a pair in any of the colors I can acquire. (Of course, I’d love it if you did either one.)

But today, I’m going to take you inside my studio and show you how to make them!

You will need:

– four glass pearls. These are 12 mm or just less than half an inch.
– about 36 inches of wire, cut into 4 pieces of about 9 inches. I like 26 gauge for this size of pearl.
– two earwires
– at least one pair of needlenose pliers, preferably two, and at least one that can snip the wire

Take one pearl and one piece of wire. Bend one end of the wire, at a right angle, about an inch or so in. I use the tip of my index finger and usually get about 3/4 of an inch.

Slide the pearl on to the wire, with one end butting up to the angle you just made.

Now, working with the long piece of wire, use your thumbs to carefully bend the wire, fitting it as close as you can to the curve of the pearl.

Make a loop-de-loop at about the widest part of the pearl, being careful to keep the wire tight and close to the pearl.
This is what your loop might look like.

Now the part of the wire that you’re working with is near the short angled end. Stand that short bit up and bend the long end around it, as close as possible to the hole, so that the wire is about 2/3 of the way around the pearl. Bend the short part back down to hold the pearl in place.

Use the longer part of the wire to make another loop-de-loop down the side of the pearl, meeting up with hole on the other side.

Now for the tricky part. Be very careful here.
You may need to ease the angle on the short end of the wire, to allow the pearl to slide down just a hair.
Very carefully, feed the long end of the wire UNDER the piece of wire coming out of the hole and leading into the first loop you made.

Pull it tightly, making sure that all the wire is still smooth against the pearl without distorting the loops. Bend the long end of the wire around so there are now three angles of about 120 degrees (evenly spaced, that’s all).  This will be the bottom of the wrapped pearl.

Make one final loop-de-loop up the side, ending up back where the short end extends from the hole.

Wrap the working end of the wire partway around the short end, and use the snippy pliers to trim off as much excess as you can. Then take the clipped end and wrap it tightly around the extending part of the wire, using pliers to pull it tightly.

You are done with this pearl for now. Repeat this process with the other three pearls and come back when you’re done.
All ready to go on? Okay, good. Choose two pearls that you want to put together.

Pick up one pearl and a pair of pliers. Bend the extending wire into half of a loop, but don’t close it yet!

Pick up the other pearl, and look at the bottom of it, where the wire makes three angles. Find a good spot where you can wiggle the wire in underneath, and connect the two pearls together. Now close the loop carefully and wrap the remaining bit of wire around, just like before.

Lather, rinse, and repeat: bend the short extending wire into part of a loop, and feed it through the bottom loop on the earwire.
Close the loop, just as before.

Voila! You have a gorgeous earring! Repeat the connecting process again, and you’ll have a matched pair!

Of course this is not the only way to do wire-wrapping, just my current favorite. Do you know of a cool wire-wrapping pattern? Have you been intimidated to try it? I think you should get some beads and wire and try it!

Busy Busy Busy

I don’t know why exactly, but I’ve just been insanely busy lately. I enjoy most of the things I do, but it seems like I haven’t had any downtime in forever. I haven’t even had spare time for reading! Today I’ve got a collection of pictures to share, of some of my recent projects in progress!

This is a quick shot I took of my to-do list just before I sat down to upload pictures and write this post. The right side is tasks for my home or family – stuff like “clean the fridge” and “mail Mother’s Day cards.” The left side is personal projects or desires, mostly for Etsy or for my blogs. Yes, it’s giant. And it’s mostly not very itemized. It just says “clean,” instead of “clean living room and bathroom and bedroom and kitchen,” for example. Told ya I’m busy.

I’ve been trying new recipes, but I haven’t been photographing them. I’ve got such a backlog of recipes to blog about. So it’s a great time to try new things, so I can improve on them before I blog about them. This is last night’s dinner – Spinach, Ricotta, and Parmesan Stuffed Shells. I based them off a recipe I shared with you a few weeks agoSpinach-Stuffed Canneloni by Happiness Stan. Delicious, although there are a few things I’m going to do differently next time. I’m really loving recipes that fold the vegetables into the main dish, because we have a tendency to forget to make the veggie until the food is done. Also, I officially love ricotta. It makes such lovely leftovers.

A new project! Care to guess? I shared the inspiration for this with you just a few days ago. It’s rock candy! I loved the jewelry idea from 1 Fine Cookie, but I decided I’d better try out just plain rock candy first. I stirred up some sugar syrup, added in a little of the flavor extracts I had on hand, and some coloring. It’s a pretty simple concept, so I don’t anticipate any problems.

Here’s a quick shot of some earrings I knocked together today. The ones on the left are for Kako. They’re a version of my Corkscrew earrings, with silver-colored copper wire and Sapphire blue freshwater pearls. They turned out a bit longer than I expected. The ones on the right are pearlescent black glass pearls, wrapped with 26-gauge wire. Quite delicate. I like them. Look for them in my shop on June 1st!

Here’s a sneak peek of another commissioned jewelry piece. My friend Ri likes cameos like my Secret Cameo earrings, but doesn’t wear earrings. So I went on the hunt for a necklace for her. I found this classic-looking pendant, and embellished it with 28 green Swarovski elements. It hangs at about the breastbone, from a double-loop of black cable chain. I’m really happy with it.

I’ve also been sewing! This is a prototype of an e-reader cover that I’m hoping to produce for my shop, but it’s giving me fits at the moment. I’m happy with the front side, but the back just isn’t cooperating. I’ve got an idea I’m going to try next time I sit down with it, so hopefully it’ll work out well.

My sewing has been successful on other fronts though. Here’s a shot of a “string backpack” I knocked together from 2 fat quarters. We have a similar one (that we found in a parking lot haha) to carry dog-related items when we take Charlie for a walk. This one is the new home for kid-related stuff when we walk to the park. I really like the two velcro’ed pockets on the front, to stash my keys and wallet.  I’m thinking about Etsying these as well. What do you think?

If you want to find out what this is, you’ll have to read about it on the Snark Art Blog!

In honor of Matt Smith’s debut as the Eleventh Doctor 2 years ago, April 3 was Fish Custard Day. (Go watch The Eleventh Hour; you’ll understand.) I got brave and tried it. It was actually pretty good!

Here’s a process shot of a set of items that should be appearing in my shop on Listing Day (the first of June). Care to take a guess?

Another process shot, of a very old and long-since-completed project. I had this lovely skirt, but it was longer than I liked, and, um, too small in the waist. So I shortened it by hacking off the top. I’m quite happy with it. I’ve got to get the courage to model it so I can put up a proper post about it.

When I joined Paperback Swap a few weeks ago, I went through my box of “get rid of” books and listed them all. Except a few. Four of the seven Chronicles of Narnia books, in pretty rough shape. I couldn’t list them, but I didn’t want to just throw them away. So I salvaged them. I cut (by hand) hundreds of circles from the pages, and glued them onto a paper lantern I already owned. It turned out AMAZING. I’ve got a ton of scraps, as well as a whole book and a half, left, so I’m thinking about other things to do with the papers. I kept a couple of the chapter illustrations, and am thinking of using my scanner to blow them up and use them as embroidery patterns. The scraps of paper might get blended up into pulp so I can make “fresh” paper – I’ve got a bookmaking project running around my head too.

PONY CUPCAKES. Our FRG had a “cupcake social” this past weekend. (I apologize to my Pinterest followers for the deluge of cupcakes that one day that I was looking for ideas.) I made these little picks from the box art (yes I saved it, why do you ask) from my daughter’s ponies. I am particularly proud of these lovelies. Definitely expect to see a post featuring these babies in better detail soon.

Last photo of the day! This is a shot from wayy back at the beginning of April, the day of the season two premiere of Game of Thrones. I prepared a fabulous Westerosi feast. Somehow, the blog never got written about it. I made a number of amazing recipes that day though, and I plan to share them – especially those lovely Dornish peppers you see on the right in the foreground. Deeeeeelicious. Fresh bread dipped in salt was also a revelation of flavor.

This isn’t even all of the amazingness that I’ve been up to! Here’s just a quick sample of the things I’ve got folders of pictures for: Homemade Butter, Cola Cake, Fried Chicken, Roasted Chicken, Lasagna, Onion Rings, Shield Weaving, and Wheat Bread. I’ve also got some great craft tutorials in the planning stages (it’s harder than you think it is to take process photos of delicate things). Oh, and I got my May Birchbox the other day – that blog will be coming soon.
Don’t forget – next week is Giveaway Week! Be sure to come back early and often for your chances to win free stuff!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this mishmash photoblog. Which project are you most excited to see more of?

Grand Opening!

Oops, sorry for the sudden radio silence there! We were busy all weekend (like always), and I’ve been busy like crazy because today is GRAND OPENING DAY!
Or re-opening, I guess, but you get the picture. My Etsy shop‘s been on vacation for a while, but I am NOW OPEN again!

I’ve got lots of new items, and I hope you like them. I only had the energy to list 13 of them last night/this morning, and I’ve got 10 more in the hopper, which should make their way to the listings this afternoon/evening (after I do the grocery shopping, ugh).

Here’s a preview of what you’ll find at my shop!

I suppose you could call wire-wrapped pearls my specialty? This is the only pair I have available right now, but oh, what a gorgeous pair. I can (and will) make wrapped pearls in any color combinations that I can find supplies for, so if you’ve got a design in mind, just ask!

I particularly love this unique necklace. Red beads trapped in copper spirals – it’s really fun to wear, by the way. 😉

These “Corkscrew” earrings always gather lots of compliments. I designed them originally for myself, and they’re so popular that I had to make some for the shop.

I am particularly fond of this Kraken. If you’re a fan of Lovecraft, Martin, or Andromeda, you’ll probably love him, too. (I had a lot of stupid fun making bad puns in the listing, by the way.)

The last item I’d like to share with you here is this chainmaille watch. It’s all copper, with a nice shiny face and a beautiful flower patterned weave for the band. I also have a similar one available in dark silver, and can make you a watch in other weaves, if you’d like!

I really love to do custom orders, so … you know where I am. 😉 Just think how cool it’ll be to tell your friends that you “commissioned” that lovely piece of jewelry they all admire.

In related news: I really need a camera with a macro setting. Haha.

Oh! Did I mention that I have a whole section of “5$ and Under“? You should check it out. That’s even cheaper than going to the mall to get cheap mass-produced crap.

One last thing: use coupon code SILVERBELLS at checkout, and you’ll magically receive 10% off your entire purchase!