Thursday, November 19, 2015

Double sided multicolor enamel heart pendants

One of the fun things about working with enamel is that most pieces are double-sided. You need to apply glass to both sides of the metal -- we call this a "counter" -- so the enamel is even. If one side is thicker than the other, the metal can bend and the enamel can break off. So if you have three coats on side, you need three on the other. The only exception is if you're doing a technique like champleve, and are working with a very thick piece of metal.

I usually just apply a plain color as my counter, especially if I'm making something where only one side is ever seen. Lately, though, I've been working on the other side -- the "B side," if you will -- and turning my jewelry into two-in-one pieces. Here are the reversible heart necklaces that I designed:

I tried to go with extremely different color combinations so the pendants can be worn with a diverse range of outfits. I had a lot of fun making these and coming up with unique combos. Out of the four hearts, though, I think I like the pink, red, white and black the best. One of my classmates said that the red line looks like an aorta. I don't know if I want this kind of heart to look like the human organ...

So far, I've made double-sided cats, hearts, stars and abstract figures. I think it would be interesting to paint a cartoon-type character where one side is the person's front and the other, the back. I'll have to play around and see what I come up with. The other good thing about enamel is that if I screw up, I can always paint right over my mistake!

Check out my jewellery at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations -- and find me on Instagram.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Funky silver wire wrapped dangle earrings

While I often experiment with making new designs or using different techniques, I sometimes like to return to my old standbys. In this case, I felt like creating some silver wire wrapped earrings:

You can't go wrong with a classic item. These earrings go with any outfit and are modern, but will always be stylish. Even better, they're fun to make! While I do think of these as "classics," I like to see how many new ways I can twist the wire. I'd never before made the triple spirals in earring form, though I've done it for pendants. On the other hand, I feel like I can never go wrong in making anything with a pretty heart design.

I feel very accomplished when I tackle and complete and complex item, like a particularly detailed pair of chandelier earrings. Simple can be beautiful too, though, and I still get satisfaction from making these items.

Check out the rest of my jewellery at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations. Follow me on Instagram, too!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Silver wire wrapped statement necklace with spirals and turquoise crystal squares

When I did my craft fair in September, I made a few statement pieces for my table. These are higher-priced pieces of jewelry that you can see from across the street. They don't sell as well as my less expensive items, but they're attention-grabbers that bring people to my booth.

For this fair, I designed this piece:

The necklace is modeled after another one of my pieces, which I call "Nefertiti's Kiss." That one was on display at the Austin Ale House:

I used the same basic pattern, but made it in silver wire instead of brass. And instead of the navy crystal pearls, I added the turquoise squares. The squares are AB (aurora borealis) crystals so they shimmer when the light hits them. The necklace really stood out when it was outside!

No one purchased either piece, but this necklace did indeed bring people over. Many asked how long it took me to make it (about a week) or how I made the spirals. One little kid's mouth fell open when he saw the price. His mom explained how much work went into it.

I'll admit, I personally wouldn't wear a necklace this large. I like my jewelry to be pretty simple! But I have sold a few copies of Nefertiti's Kiss and have seen women look great in statement jewelry. Hopefully, someone special will fall in love with this necklace, too.

Check out my jewellery at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations. Join me on Instagram, too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Silver wire wrapped wine glass charms with Swarovski crystals

I've never been a very big drinker. Sometimes I crave a glass of sangria, and I'll usually have some punch at parties, but other than that, I can take or leave alcohol. I'd rather save the calories for chocolate!

That said, I didn't know that wine glass charms even exist until last evening. We always spend Christmas with my friend Scott's family and I asked what I should get his parents this year. He suggested I make them a set of wine charms. I didn't know what he was talking about until he explained that people attach little charms to their wine glass stems so they can tell whose drink is whose. It's a clever way to keep track of your beverage -- and they look very festive.

They're also apparently very popular, so boy, do I feel as if I were left out of the loop. But I studied some designs and came up with my own version of wine glass charms:

I made these the same way I make many of my jewelry pieces: I used 20 gauge silver plated wire, which I adorned with multicolored Swarovski crystal bicones. I then attached a small filigree clover and a larger glass bead. Each bead is a different color so guests know which drink is his or hers.

Scott wasn't sure how I'd get the charm to stay on the stem of the glass and thought I might make a little chain. Instead, I went with a simpler "cuff" design, which is easy to attach and remove. You squeeze the end together to tighten and pull apart to take off the charm. I have to say, it does stay put! I tested it by holding the glass upside-down and shaking it, and the charms did not fall off.

My original design had a larger filigree piece to which I attached a Swarovski crystal heart, but Scott and another friend noted that the charm should not dangle off the edge of the glass. I modified the piece and came up with this version. The hardest part of making the set was assuring that the charms were equal in size. It's difficult enough to get both earrings in a pair to match up, but now I was working with four pieces.

Scott's idea for wine charms was great and these make such cute gifts or party favors. I hope his folks like their Christmas gift. I'll bring a bottle of wine, as well -- and I know they'll like that!

Check out the rest of my jewellery at Naomi's Designs or MayaGirl Creations.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Colorful silver wire wrapped party earrings with Swarovski crystals

The first pair of earrings I ever sold at a craft fair were these silver wire wrapped earrings with rainbow colored Swarovski crystals. I call them my "Party Earrings" because the crystals look like confetti. I love making these because I don't have a set pattern for the crystals; I simply take out a handful and sting them on the wire. I never know what combination I'll get, which means every pair is slightly different.

I haven't sold many pairs online, but I've since managed to sell a pair at every craft fair. Perhaps they don't look as interesting on Etsy, but in person, they're very colorful and fun. Many customers have said that they were drawn to them because they're different from other jewelry they've seen around.

I recently updated my collection with these variations on my "Party" line; I made the earrings using crystals in shades of purple, blue and red:

They're not as colorful as my original pair, but they're still fun and will hopefully attract people who prefer muted tones over multicolored. My personal choice is the blue. Blue is my favorite color, anyway, and I love the way the aqua and dark blue stones look when they're together.

My next craft fair is in a few weeks and I'll be selling these along with my original Party Earrings. Here's hoping my lucky streak continues -- and people like these new pairs, as well!

Check out the rest of my jewellery at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Silver wire wrapped enamel butterfly necklace

Last month was my niece's 8th birthday. She's starting to become more interested in clothes and fashion, so I made her a double-sided enamel butterfly necklace:

Her favorite colors are purple and blue, so I used them in the pendant. She's modeling the side that has more purple... and her elephant (a gift from her best friend) is showing off the other side. She loves to dress her stuffed animals and dolls, and is constantly changing and switching their outfits -- so I take the elephant wearing my work as a huge compliment!

Like me, my niece is into drawing and crafts, and I hope she'll continue to have this interest as she gets older. Making her a necklace was not only my way of giving her a gift from the heart, but was also my way to show her what you can do if you work hard and have patience. These days, it's pretty easy to get what you need; I can go into most stores and find an inexpensive and pretty piece of jewelry that was mass produced. But it's so much more satisfying for me to make it myself. I hope I can teach her that she doesn't always have to take the easy way out and buy things, but can find the enjoyment in learning how to cook or sew, or make jewelry.

When she's older, I'll see if she's interested in learning some jewelry-making skills from me. Meantime, I'm happy to have her stuffed animals model my work!

Check out the rest of my handmade wire wrapped and enamel jewellery at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations.