Archive for the ‘jewelry making’ Category

Decorative Jewelry Organizer
April 10, 2012

Lately I have been looking at a lot of jewelry storage online, getting ideas for a new project. Not only do I have a TON of jewelry that is always getting tangled up together, but I also have a bad habit of taking off my necklaces and rings and leaving them in various places, only to wonder where they are later. I really like this concept because it turns your jewelry into a sort of framed “art” while hanging, so it’s beauty can be enjoyed even when it’s not being worn. In feeding my recent Pinterest obsession, (which has shown no signs of subsiding) here are some great examples I have found: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

I had some time off work recently, and on friday I got a little frustrated with myself because I feel like I have been wasting this time off, and haven’t been very productive in the wake of the rush to get inventory off to my aunt’s store opening. On Friday, I sat down to make a list of weekend project ideas, and then made a shopping list, and set off for Goodwill and Home Depot.

This project set me back about $25, mostly because of the hardware. I bought a few hooks that I didn’t end up using, so I haven’t included them here, but otherwise, here is a breakdown of the cost:
Frame: $6.99 (used)
Mesh screen: $10, for 3’x5′ roll
1/8th” ‘s’ hooks: $7.49/100 (this seemed highly overpriced to me 😦 … )
gold clip hooks: $3.99/100

here’s the before shot: jewelsplosion

I bought the frame at Goodwill – it appeared to be a fairly cheap, simple black frame. When I went to drill and staple into it however, we discovered it was actually made out of oak, which is a tougher wood to deal with. The issue with the frame is that you want it to be sturdy enough to be able to support the force of the mesh being stretched and stapled across it’s back, as well as the weight of the jewelry. It’s also important to consider how you will hang your frame, when deciding what style to use. I originally wanted to go with a decorative, beveled frame like this one, but I knew that I had a lot of jewelry to hang and I didn’t want to start off with such a heavy frame. I also wanted to keep it simple, so that the frame wouldn’t distract from the jewelry.

First, I gave the frame a few coats of a light blue spray paint.

Then, my dad helped me staple the screen to the back. This proved a little challenging… we couldn’t fit the screen on the inside of the frame, like where a picture and glass would nestle in. There just wasn’t enough space. So we fit it across the back, which left about a quarter inch of space all the way around.

We left a few inches around while we stapled, which allowed us to hold and stretch the screen, to make sure that it was evenly and taughtly attached. Next, we trimmed the screen down to size. This part was a little tedious, as the only way to trim the screen is to cut each individual bit with skinny trimmers. A word of advice, for anyone who attempts this project: These trimmed edges, no matter how carefully you cut, will still be able to scratch the hell out of you if you brush up against them. We could tell at this point that we would have to cover the back somehow, to prevent not only personal injury, but also to protect the wall.

(alternate post title: Dad Crafts 2012: Easter Edition)

Once trimmed down to size, my dad drilled holes along the bottom, so we could screw in some clip hooks, to hang rings.

Now that we were getting near finished, we assessed the inside gap between the frame and the screen. My dad ingeniously suggested I sew some little tubes of fabric, and glue them on the inside. The best part was that I didn’t have to worry about any seams showing, so it was a cinch to put together. I layered some cute flannel with strips of felt, and folded them into the gap with glue.

I had actually already decided to hang this display from the second towel rack in my bathroom, rather than worry about trying to find a nail strong enough to hold it on the wall. But just in case I decide in the future to hang it like an actual picture, and to protect from the deadly spikes of wire on the back, I glued strips of felt to the back of the frame. You can’t see this at all from the front, but it allows for a nice finished look on the back.

click to enlarge!

I originally intended to hang this from the towel rack with a large S hook, but the one’s I bought wouldn’t fit around the frame. Then I remembered that I had these clear plastic shower curtain holders, and they did the trick quite nicely. I added a third clip in the middle for reinforcement.

 Admittedly these little s hooks aren’t ideal – they look nice, and I prefer them to a hook that is attached more permanently to the board, but things must be removed fairly gingerly or else several pieces come falling off at once. These were the absolute smallest hooks I could find, and in fact they weren’t even hanging within the hook display at Home Depot – they were shoved underneath, and the package was taped, as if it had been kicked around for some time. It led me to believe they don’t typically make hooks this small or smaller anymore, and this was old product. If I do this kind of project again I will probably do some scouting for a better, cheaper hanger.

I really love how all my jewelry looks on here, and I think this will encourage me to vary my wear more, as I often get into the habit of wearing one piece repeatedly, when it is new and my favorite.

This… made me realize I have a TON of rings. This is not even all the rings I own! I do wish there was a way to display them so they are facing up, but I couldn’t think of any. Further development may be required….

Until next time!


Gem Faire 2011
November 25, 2011

My mom and I went to Gem Faire 2011 at the Portland Convention Center last saturday. I told myself walking in the doors that I would try to be conservative with my money, and would only splurge if I could visualize projects for what I wanted to buy. Instead, I went a little crazy…

Gem Faire is really great because you can see vendors from all over the U.S., and their goods are sold at wholesale price even though the event is open to the public. When researching about the event, I found on their website ( that you can register for email updates and you will get a free weekend pass! Excellent, that’s seven more dollars you can spend on inventory!

(Unfortunately, my camera wasn’t charged up, so I could only take these small pics with my cell phone.)

I have always loved rocks and gemstones. I’m not even really sure why.. but to me they are so beautiful. I especially love the raw, chunky forms – many grow with facets that make them glitter, they are like olden days treasure to me! When I was a kid I used to collect rocks and agates, and bring them home to polish with a toothbrush, and lay out on a paper towel to dry in the sun. My grandma bought me a rock tumbler at a garage sale, and I distinctly remember the gritty, rumbling sound it made in the garage the whole month it was tumbling. The results were stunning! As a youngin’ I wasn’t quite sure what made the rocks so polished and shiny, it was almost like magic.

(Speaking of rock tumblers, I recently came across one and was thinking it would be really cool to make my own sea glass, by tumbling broken shards. To be continued…)

I’ve recently been inspired to make more gemstone jewelry, some pieces I already had in mind when I went to do my shopping. I’m especially drawn to light blue agates, turquoise, amethyst, and amber. Some of my ideas also included chunks of pyrite, and crystal cylinders.

I probably could have spent all day, but as my wallet got lighter so did my interest.

Here are some pictures of my loot.  I look forward to sharing my creations with these pieces!

(Click to see larger!)

many of these strands were only a dollar each. I couldn’t resist!  I especially love those on the far right, I call them “talons”, I think they will look really cool in individual necklace pendants. Those purple, pink and blue round beads perfectly match the colors in a dress I got recently.  And those skull beads on the far right, I am picturing a cool little drawstring suede bag or pouch, with some fringe, and beads.

These two I am going to take apart and make individual pieces with as well. The lightning bolt shapes are faux amber/resin, and the red and green talons are coral and (I think) either jade or moss agate.

fools gold! my hands got really dirty sifting through to find my favorite pieces, it wasn’t hard to imagine I was actually mining the pieces rather than picking them out of a tupperware bowl 😉

One of my favorite pieces, a chunk of amethyst wrapped with silver and made into a pendant. I love how dark the color is, it looks like rock candy! And a cute little beaded ring! The more I look at this ring the easier I think it would be to reproduce.

These were my two splurge items, blue lace agate chunks and the crystals. I figure each piece will go into it’s own necklace, so I will get a lot of product, and if I make any sales it will be worth my while. I also love these amethyst chunks! raw and yet so shiny, and beautiful.

Repurposed Vintage and “Inspired” Findings
July 10, 2011

 A new interest lately has been creating adjustable rings using vintage clip-on earrings and other jewelry findings.  I always love the super gaudy, huge beaded and rhinestoned vintage clip on earrings, but not only do I have pierced ears, I also have really tiny lobes and those things tend to look gargantuan on me.  So I found another way to use them!  I’m much more of a cocktail ring type of girl myself, I think most of the time larger jewelry looks better on fingers than it does on ears.  I have more of the vintage earring rings I haven’t photographed yet, I’ll post them as soon as I do.

I also came into these really great disc brooches with beads and velvet, that had come apart from their backings. with a little imagination, I was able to turn them into some pretty fabulous cocktail rings! I really love these,  and it’s going to be hard to part with them, but I’ve just listed a few of them on etsy if you’d like to take a look at some more pictures.

Aunt Trista’s Works of Art
August 17, 2010

up til last year, this was my bed.

My Great Aunt Trista was a very talented crafter, and I’m proud to say I get some of my tastes and talents from her. We have many of her handiworks in our christmas decorations, including tiny crochet snowflakes like these (not my image) which she would pin to a board and coat with glue to stiffen, and these wonderful ornaments. A few years ago I pulled them out of seasonal boxes and decided they were too beautiful to only be seen once a year. Here are two ways that I displayed them in my room: tied to my canopy bed, and tacked above a high doorway in an old dorm room.  I’ve tried to recreate the ornaments, which she made by covering styrofoam balls with silky fabrics and pinning old jewelry, trims, and sequins to, but I couldn’t get them to look nearly as good as she did. She made so many ornaments that she was able to give many out to my dad’s entire family, as well as decorate her own tree entirely. As I get older I’m really sad I wasn’t able to know her more closely growing up, she passed away when I was young and I only have a few memories of her at holiday parties. She was a very talented and classy woman!

two other really great things she made: framed “scenes” of vintage jewelry formed to look like bouquets of flowers. She had a collection of jewelry to die for, I believe she went to garage sales and scavenged for old jewels. The great part of these kinds of projects is that you can use broken or old jewelry and repurpose it, giving it new life. I have this vague memory of going to someone’s house, it may have been her or maybe not, but I remember in the doorway a framed piece, 3-4 feet tall, and it was in the shape of a Christmas tree.. made entirely of old brooches. WOWW!

resin jewelry: natural set
March 18, 2010

I have done many an experiment with resin, seeing just what I can get away with embedding. This is one set I am particularly fond of – most of the pieces have been sold off so I only have the photos left.

Interestingly, a lot of the colors changed once the flowers hit the resin and even after it hardened.  The first and third pieces on the bottom row here were originally light pink and purple when picked. It was really interesting to see how each color reacted to the chemicals in the resin, a lot of the pieces turned dark and looked slightly wilted which created a whole different look than what I had intended.

this last one I had to keep for myself, it charmed me too much.

I’ve been meaning to try this again sometime, and possibly attempt to seal the flowers with pva or mod podge before hitting the resin to maybe keep the colors a bit more natural.

Gemstone Rings
March 9, 2010

I have always been interested in rocks and agates, the earth’s natural treasures, but recently I started researching the metaphysical properties.  I love to read about the history of how each stone got its supposed healing properties, and how each is created uniquely by all real natural elements. I also really love the comfort in lucky talismans. Last summer I started collecting gemstone chip beads and decided to make rings with them.  I bought a ring sizer on ebay, 20 something yards of pliable copper coated wire, and within a few days I was in business. I printed out small cards with each stone’s metaphysical properties, to hand out with the rings.

*B&T project tip: if you can’t afford the chips at craft stores (my work sells them for $3.99 for about 16″ of beads, specialty stores will sell you more but the prices get much steeper, especially as the chips become “semi-precious”) scour the jewelry sections at thriftstores. I constantly find outdated jewelry that I take apart and use for other interesting creations.

(colored strings denote sizes)

more pics on my etsy.

See also:

The Book of Stones: Who They Are & What They Teach
The Metaphysical Book of Gems and Crystals