Aug 31, 2009

Monday Features

My first feature this week is Sally of Happilyeverartist. Sally, a lampworker, is one of my beading buddies that I meet up with on a regular basis so I am lucky enough to be able to see all her beads first hand - and I've been tempted to buy more than once!

Sally started her affair with art at school where she won several art awards. She started making jewellery to sell at markets at a young age and developed her creativity into paintings as well.

Having bought several lampwork beads Sally was encouraged to give it a go herself - already fascinated with glass she took to lampworking so much that it became her no.1 creative outlet.

As well as selling her beads on Etsy, Sally has her own website where there are more beads plus a gallery of some of her artwork.

My second feature is Trish of Trishalan designs. Primarily selling from her shop based in Petrie, Queensland, and from her her own website, Trish specialises in hand dyed fabric, hand dyed threads, kumihimo supplies and needlework designs.

Trish dyes all her fabric, threads and clothes using the ECO DYEING method, a method that Trish herself developed. This is not tie-dyeing. This method doesn't use string, rubber bands or stitching and also uses much less water than traditional dyeing methods.

Having sold at the same markets as Trish on several occasions her stall also looks so appealing with its lovely range of colours and dyed tees.

Aug 30, 2009

My Present to Me

After having made the Sterling Hearts bangle with patterned wire I decided I was going to make a similar bangle this time using Gold-filled patterned wire, and that when I did - I was going to keep it. So here it is, my present to myself.

Aug 29, 2009


I've just been sent a picture of the customised bunting that has been made for me by a fellow Dust team member - MooBeeTees. Its in the post now and the next time I do a market - this will be strung across the front of my stall - so excited!

Aug 27, 2009

Busman's Holiday?

You know how they always say that a gardener's backyard is the worst kept in the block, how the chef never cooks at home etc.? Well I'm an accountant in my day job and guess what? I'm so disorganised with looking after my finances at home, both household and my jewellery business.

We recently had our tax year end and I had three months worth of jewellery business finances to catch up on before I could do my final accounts and submit my tax return.

I also often have a build up of pieces that I have completed but that I haven't got round to costing up. Too much like a chore!

I guess being organised, deadline driven, thorough, etc., etc. in my day job I just want to forget all that back at home and let my creative side have its turn!

So come on, fess up, who else is totally disorganised when it comes to the 'business' side of their business?

Aug 26, 2009

Ipswich - Version 1 - Queensland, Australia

I thought I would do a short series over the next 3 or so weeks showcasing Sellers based in Ipswich - the twist being that each week I will pick not only a different seller but a different Ipswich!

Since I myself am based in Ipswich in Queensland Australia this seemed like the obvious Ipswich to start with.

Using the "Shop Local" feature on Etsy I have searched to find other sellers based in my city - and there are a few. However, I couldn't go past the seller I have chosen to feature this week - OpalEndeavours. Not only do they link in with my craft, but they sell my favourite gemstone - Opals!

OpalEndeavours mine and process Queensland Boulder Opal. They have loose opals, both drilled and undrilled as well as some made up pieces on sterling silver omega necklets. So pop on over and discover the beauty of opals and this great shop for yourself.

Aug 25, 2009

Silver Hearts Bangle

Just relisted in my Etsy store is my Silver Hearts Bangle. One of my regular "pick-up pieces" at the markets this bangle was my first venture into using patterned wire.

Having seen the patterned wire when trawling through my Rio catalogues it sparked my interest and I wanted to "play" with it. Once I got my wire I realised it would work really well in a bangle, wire wrapped between strips of square wire.

However, when I first started to work with the wire the first thing I realised was I had a major deficiency in my tool collection - a saw! It took much pressing in with wire cutters and back and forth manipulating with the wire before I was able to "cut" it - or to be more accurate "snap" it.

Having got through this hurdle I was able to press in with my design. I shaped the outer wires to form both the hook and the eye of the clasp and then wire wrapped all the wires together with some half round wire.

So, with the pattern in the wire being a hearts design - my Silver Hearts Bangle.

Aug 24, 2009

Monday Features

My first feature this week is Georgia of Ogekko. Georgia has been working with fabrics and textiles (and crafts in general) all her life. This interest in textiles led her to many different things, which included formal study in textiles, many years working in the costume field and just as many spent teaching - as well as a fair amount of travel.

Georgia now enjoys bringing all those influences into her own creations and making colourful clothes and quilts from interesting fabrics that she finds from around the world.

Georgia states that these are often directed towards children, since they seem to respond to and appreciate colour and pattern in their life as much as she does.

So for a great range of children's clothes in quite unique fabrics, many with an African influence, head on over to Ogekko.

My second feature is Lexa of Juntei. Lexa describes herself as an artist, illustrator, designer, student and geek! She lives in beautiful Sydney, Australia with her husband and cat, filling her days with creating and gaming.

Lexa would describe her style and sensibility as a mix of vintage, retro, punk and Asian. She hopes to share her unique view of the world through her card designs. Lexa specialises in hand-crafting unique greeting cards, journals, gift tags, and more, utilizing both vintage Japanese kimono cloth and gorgeous paper with Japanese designs.

In Juntei you will find not just a range of hand crafted cards but also some great looking journals all influenced by Lexa's love of Asian designs.

Aug 23, 2009

Tutorials on the Web

As with any other craft, jewelry making has to be learnt. When I first started out I devoured beading magazines and books, and I still keep an eye on what is available. However, for me, one of the biggest resources for learning my craft was the Internet.

The Internet not only provides many tutorials instantly available, but what is even better, many of the tutorials are free! I learnt nearly all of the chainmaille weaves that I know from free tutorials on the web, and even though there were a couple I ended up paying for, at least on the web you are paying for exactly what you want, as opposed to a book and magazine where you may not be interested in half of what is in there.

Having benefited so much from some of these sites, I thought I would a few of them with you!

Aug 22, 2009

Tourmaline and Sterling Pendant

One of my first ever sales on Etsy was of a Tourmaline Pendant. Tourmaline is a lovely stone in varying shades of pink and green. I decided I would like to make another pendant with the Tourmaline.

With my last piece of 18g wire (or it was until I received my wire order already blogged about) I made a tear drop shape with a loop at the top to hang the pendant with.

I then started to wire wrap the pendant using some 26g wire. I decided to wrap in such a way so that the shape of the teardrop was "filled" with the sterling wire rather than just to wrap around the edge. At varying intervals I then wired in the tourmaline nuggets. The wire wrapping was all done in such a way so that the Tourmaline nuggets stand out from the pendant and sit on top of the wire backdrop. This really sets them off beautifully.

So - my Tourmaline and Sterling Pendant.

Aug 20, 2009

Chainmaille Treasury

Finally - I'm in a treasury. Its been quite a while since I was last in a treasury so I was quite excited to see one of my pieces in the gorgeous chainmaille treasury! Curated by Tollykit the treasury showcases a great selection of chainmaille pieces.

Aug 19, 2009

My Idea of Shopping! Part 1

As a jewelry designer, one of the things I discovered very quickly was just how exciting it was to go shopping online for materials - a wealth of materials at your fingertips! Of course, I also discovered how easy it was to go online to buy one thing that I needed only to end up buying so much more. I have to say though, no matter how exciting it is to shop online - the real excitement comes when the parcel arrives!

With the direction I have taken with my jewelry design the two types of materials I use the most are wire and gemstones. This "Part 1" is all about the wire!

As someone who works very predominantly with wire, whether it be wire coiled and made into rings for my chainmaille, or wire used as is for wirework, I find I get through my wire supplies pretty quickly - and believe me, there is nothing worse than running out!

For the last couple of weeks I have been scraping the barrel for pieces of wire to work with - so I was very excited when my latest parcel arrived yesterday.

So, as you can see from the below picture - I am now in the wire! Shopping - don't you just love it!

Aug 18, 2009

Moss Agate and Peridot Jasper Necklace

Following on from Sunday's post - my second "made at the markets" piece is a necklace of links of Moss Agate separated at intervals by links of Peridot Jasper. Again, the links are all on sterling silver wire.

The moss Agate is in varying, mainly darker shades of green whereas the Peridot Jasper is a light olive green type shade, almost yellow in colour. This creates a great contrast between the two stones.

I made this necklace so that it was "opera" type length when worn singly but is one that can easily be doubled up around the neck. Being so long there was no need for a clasp so its easily handled!

So here it is - my Moss Agate and Peridot Jasper Necklace.

Aug 17, 2009

Monday Features

My first feature this week is on Jean and her shop 3Squares. Visit 3Squares and you will begin to wonder if you are in a jewelry shop or a restaurant! Jean describes her two passions as jewelry making and cooking and this is reflected in her jewelry product list that reads like a menu - With names like Cinnamon Streusel and Fettuccine with Clam Sauce, you will be drooling before you even begin looking at the jewelry itself!

Jean's jewelry is crafted from a mixture of metals in many forms and with a variety of finishes. Found objects are sometimes incorporated as well. She is mostly self-taught, and continues to explore new materials and techniques. Jean states that her goal is to offer an eclectic menu of unique and interesting pieces you will enjoy wearing or giving.

The current "in piece" at 3Squares is a necklace designed especially to hold moo cards - and what a fantastic way to display them!

My second feature of the day is Krystal of MonkeyBuns. Krystal cites her son as her biggest inspiration and her shop name is her son's nickname.

When I think of Monkeybuns the first thing that always springs to mind are the gorgeous beaded cuffs that Krystal makes - and believe me there is a staggering range to choose from! It is by no means the only thing that Krystal makes just the one that immediately springs to mind.

Krystal states that jewelry to her is like taking a piece of her soul and transforming it into functional art. Evey piece she makes represents a piece of her life. Krystal likes to explore her creativity and is working on new things all the time.

Aug 16, 2009

Apatite and Aventurine Necklace

Its a while since I last made a necklace of straight wrapped loop links and the decision to make a couple actually came from my desire to create while sitting at my market stall. I wanted something that was relatively easy to make and that didn't involve transporting my entire bead collection down to the market with me. It also came out of the fact that my wire collection is practically depleted so I had very little choice left about what to work with!

Having said all that, link necklaces are always popular and can, depending on the choice of beads, look really great.

This is the second necklace I made but the first I have listed.

For this necklace I wanted to use some apatite nugget beads that I have had for a while now, having first used them to create a wired bangle, long since sold. I wanted to match them up with another gemstone and after going through my collection decided that my twisted aventurine beads would look great with the apatite. The apatite is a petrol blue and this is really enhanced by the strong green colour of the aventurine.

I wanted to add a bit of sparkle so included some Swarovski crystals in pale blue and jet, deciding that these worked best with the colours I already had. Finally I added a few Swarovski pearls in silver.

And so you have it, a necklace created whilst sitting at my market stall - my Apatite and Aventurine Necklace.

Aug 15, 2009

Combining Crafts

Before taking up jewellery making the only craft I ever really did was crochet. I made some quite elaborate doilies as centre pieces for dining tables and I also made a few jumpers. When I moved to Australia I found my ability to do my craft was suddenly very restricted - mainly because of the hot weather. You try keeping an even tension when the fibre you are feeding through your fingers keeps sticking because your hands are too sweaty!

Having taking up jewellery making I soon realised that there was actually a way to combine the two crafts - jewellery could be crocheted both with fibre and, more to the point as far as not sticking was concerned, with wire.

I have since made several pieces of jewellery by crocheting, mainly with beads and wire, but also on a couple of occasions with fibre.

Here are a few examples:

Friday Favourites

Aug 13, 2009

Hydrangea Bangle

One type of bead I love working with are artisan lampwork beads. For this design I had a gorgeous set of lampwork beads entitled "Hydrangea" by Jennifer Zeiger that I purchased off Etsy.

The beads worked so well together as a set that I decided to leave them as they were and create a nice simple design that would really showcase them.

I had already made a couple of double wrapped wire beads ready to use and so decided that these would work perfectly with the lampwork beads on a simple bangle. They create great texture in a design but don't distract from the main feature.

The beads as a set worked out just perfectly to sit across the back of the wrist and the bangle is shaped in an oval. This not only works with the natural shape of a wrist but also helps to ensure the bangle won't spin round leaving the beads hidden under your wrist.

And so here it is - my Hydrangea Bangle.

Aug 12, 2009

Brisbane Beading Buddies

For me, one of the best things that has come out of joining the Beading Forum is meeting and making friends with a great bunch of like minded ladies all living in the Brisbane (ish) area. I have been meeting up with them on a regular basis now for over two years.

When I first started meeting up with my beading buddies there were maybe half a dozen of us who met on a regular basis with a few others coming intermittently. There are now more than double that number who meet up monthly and we have even had to change some of our venues to cope with the numbers.

Our meet ups are for a whole day of beading (jewellery making), chatting and eating - although its often debatable as to which takes priority as the tables are always full of plenty of nibblies!

We challenge each other, teach each other, make bulk buys together, but most of all we have fun!

Aug 11, 2009

Versatile Viking Knit Necklace and Bracelet

The latest Designer Quest on the Beading Forum that I am a member of presented us with a ton of seed beads and some Czech fire polished glass crystals. Well, as you will have gathered by now I am not a seed beader so the challenge was how to incorporate them into some wirework.

I came up with the idea of stringing the seed beads into some Viking weave. This was not something I had tried before so I had no idea how it was going to turn out. The seed beads were in three colours, dark blue, light blue and a white/silver mix. There were quite a bit fewer beads of the silver mix so I decided to do stripes of three rows of dark, three rows of light and then one row of silver. As I worked I realised that the beads were helping to form the viking into a defined tube shape. So as not to lose sight of the normal viking altogether I decided to have sections of the seed beads joined by sections of plain viking.

I decided I also wanted the necklace to have more of a focal point, so I thought I would try creating a tube of viking weave that I would fill with the larger Czech beads. Again, this was a first for me. For this section I needed to create the viking around a larger mandrel so that there was still some room to draw down.

As I was working on the pieces I thought it might be fun to build some versatility into the piece, to make the focal section removable so that it could also be worn as a bracelet. I therefore matched beads and clasps on either end of both sections so that they could either be joined together and worn as one long necklace, or separated and worn as one necklace and one bracelet.

As it happens, it all took much longer than anticipated and I missed the cut off for the Designer Quest - but here is my completed piece, now available in my shop!

Aug 10, 2009

Monday Features

My features this week are two members of BrisStyle who are participating in the BrisStyle Ekka Sale.

The first is Tracy of HeyHarriet. Tracy's shop is full of intriguing TtV (or Through The Viewfinder) photos that are sold as prints. From cute to nature to kitsch, the photos cover a wide range of subjects made all the more fascinating by the method used to take them.

Tracy describes herself as liking old cameras, sketch books, pencils, canvas, inks, and paint...mixed with energetic & inspired bursts of creativity.

For the duration of the sale HeyHarriet is offering the option to purchase 2 prints and receive a 3rd print free.

My second feature is Therese of LittleMaryMoo. Therese loves to make fabric bags and purses out of predominately hand screen printed textiles and her shop is a reflection of this.

Visit LittleMaryMoo to see a gorgeous collection of purses and messenger bags in a gorgeous selection of fabrics.

For the duration of the sale littleMaryMoo is offering 10% off all items in her shop.

Aug 9, 2009

Rings in my Trizantine Blues Necklace

A week ago I offered additional entries in my August blog giveaway to the person who was closest to the guessing the correct number of rings in my Trizantine Blues Necklace.

Well, the actual number of rings in the necklace is 246 - 238 in the main weave plus an extra 8 smaller rings for joining the Sodalite links.

Incredibly someone actually guessed 238 rings - so congratulations to DELiciousDesignz you have won yourself an extra 5 chances to win a $40 voucher in my August giveaway!

Aug 8, 2009

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppies

Over the years I've bred several litters of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies so today I thought I'd share with you a few cute photos of them!

Aug 6, 2009

Top 10 - Chainmaille Weaves

I thought it was time to do another Top 10, and so this time I am doing my favourite chainmaille weaves. These weaves are in no particular order within the top 10, namely because I would be hard pushed to choose one over another! To tell the truth it was hard to pick a top ten because there are several others that I could have easily included.

  1. Chrysanthemum
  2. Hyacinth
  3. Viper Scale
  4. Tsunami
  5. Conundrum
  6. Full Persian
  7. Half Persian 4 in 1
  8. Dragonscale
  9. Romanov
  10. Empressa

So what are your favourites?

Aug 5, 2009

Another Sale

I am having another sale in my Etsy shop - this time as a member of the BrisStyle team.

BrisStyle are having an Ekka Extravaganza Sale. Ekka is an annual show held in Brisbane every August. It is held from the 6th-15th August this year and the BrisStyle sale will run right through these dates.

Many of the members of BrisStyle are participating in the sale and there are a variety of different deals on offer - % discounts, free gifts with orders, free shipping etc.

For the duration of the sale I am offering a 10% discount storewide, plus I am also offering a free pair of gemstone earrings with all purchases over $100.

Visit the BrisStyle Blog for details of other BrisStryle shops and some of the deals on offer.

Aug 4, 2009

Mailling with Crystals

Sometimes when I am doing chainmaille I like to add crystals to the chain to give it something a little extra.

As I see it, there are really three different ways in which crystals, or any other type of bead for that matter can be added or included in the chain:

The first way is probably the most obvious, that of adding crystals as dangles from the chain. One of my favourite pieces that uses crystals in this way is my Icy Viperscale. In this design Opal White Swarovski crystals alternate with Silver Swarovski crystal pearls as dangles from the base viper scale chain.

The second way is to include them as links between sections of maille. I actually do this with gemstones quite a lot too. The example I have of that uses both gemstones and crystals and is my Charoite with Parallel Flowers. Each of the charoite links include Swarovski crystals, and each link joins two sterling silver parallel flowers.

The third way to include crystals in maille, and arguably the most effective, is to incorporate the crystals as part of the weave itself. Two completely different examples I have of this are my Box Chain with Crystals, and my Hyacinth Weave chain. In the box chain bracelet, a strand of crystals runs down and through the centre of the box chain. This can look really effective. In my Hyacinth weave chain the crystals are very much part of the weave and form the 'flower' part of the Hyacinth.

As you can see, mailling with crystals can really help to create something special.

Aug 3, 2009

Monday Features

My first feature this week is Madelynn of OneGarnetGirl. Madelynn is a metal smither who makes the most gorgeous jewellery. She describes working with metals and gemstones as being pure heaven and states that it brings her a great amount of happiness. As a mother of three young children, a perfect day in Madelynn's world would consist of a few hours in her studio, a long walk with her family and a fresh burrito.

When designing and creating her jewellery Madelynn makes every attempt to use recycled metals. All of the gold she uses is recycled, as well as the majority of her silver. She also ensures that every gemstone she uses is of the highest grade quality.

Madelynn's number one inspiration for a design concept is color. She loves bright, rich hues coupled with rough tooled bands, bringing out the beauty in both.

So take a look at OneGarnetGirl's shop and feast your eyes!

My second feature this week is Sharlene of Sharlzndollz. A fellow member of BrisStyle, Sharlene says that she cannot get enough of dolls. You only have to look at the variety of dolls in her shop, both paper and softies to see the truth in that statement.

Sharlene has loved art and craft since she was knee high to a grasshopper. Since becoming a mum she has also become an avid sewer. Sharlene states that she loves the girly stuff and her work reflects this with frills, flowers, hearts, colour, buttons and lace. Sharlene's goal in creating is to make lovely things to enjoy just because life is too short.

Sharlene has several themed dolls in her shop all worth a second glance, but my favourite are her Babushka dolls!

Aug 2, 2009

Guess the Number of Rings!

Today I am worn out from doing the Young Designers Market so I thought it might be fun to issue a bit of a challenge and at the same time give you an opportunity to win some additional entries in my August giveaway.

The challenge - guess the number of rings used in my Trizantine Blues Chainmaille necklace.

The challenge will run until next Saturday evening (Brisbane time) and the person who guesses closest to the actual number of rings used will win an extra 5 entries in my August giveaway.

So get guessing!

Aug 1, 2009

August Giveaway!

I have decided to host my giveaways once a month to run for a month. By starting each new giveaway on the 1st of the month it means everyone knows when to expect them!

So, without further ado, for this month I will be giving away a $40 voucher to spend on anything in my shop. This means you can either buy items up to the value of $40 (I do have a few things that are lower priced) or you can use the voucher to get $40 off a higher priced item.

There are three ways in which you can enter this giveaway:
  1. Visit my shop and let me know which item(s) are your favourites.
  2. Become a follower of my blog (of course if you already are just let me know)
  3. Post about this giveaway on your blog and let me know the link
Of course, you can do all three things and increase your chances of winning!

The giveaway will run until the 31st August (Brisbane time) and the winner will be announced on the 1st September along with details of my new giveaway!


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