Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Commissions 2013


Ah, the holidays! One of my busiest times of the year for jewellery orders.

You can contact me through my facebook page, my store, my email, and phone. If you are a close acquaintance/friend of mine, feel welcome to contact me through my personal facebook or in person.

What I make:
 
- custom wine charms, bookmarks, ornaments (pet/anniversary/family themed), purse ornaments.
- custom necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings.

I also sell cute pocketwatch necklaces for stocking stuffers. Clicky-click to see what I have in stock.

Something special:
- if you want to MAKE something for your significant other/friend under my tutelage, contact me and we can arrange something. Basically I charge you a reduced price, we get together, and I show you how to make it.

I am also teaching a class in Toronto. Blog post about that later.

I can work within almost any budget and with almost any colour scheme. Pieces can be as low as $15 or as high as $50 depending on what you want. It depends if I am using glass beads or Swarovski crystal, wooden beads, or pearls. You get the idea. :)

  • After December 11th, the 2$ shipping goes up to $5 - 15 so that your orders will arrive in time for Christmas. But as previous customers can attest, I usually cover up to half the extra cost.
 
  • The RUSH period is Dec 14-22nd. There is no rush fee, only extra shipping (see above) so that you will get your piece on time, and you are definitely limited to what I have on hand. I can still make an entirely new piece, but I won't have time to order any special materials in.

And of course, if you just want to buy or customize something I've already made, there's no limit, as long as you contact me to make sure the item will be delivered by December 23rd. So if there's something you have your eye on, feel welcome to check out my store here:

http://www.bonanza.com/booths/Beaded_Bohemian

Novelty earrings! A great stocking stuffer at $5-10.

My most popular necklace design to date - VERY sparkly and a great fashion statement.
$40, but there are huge discounts for a whole set or if you buy earrings too.

Customized bookmark with initial! A great stocking stuffer and gift
for a voracious reader. $10-15 depending on materials.
One of my favourite bookmark designs. $12

Him&Her bookmarks. $12 for 2 is a great deal. :)

I'm always excited to make jewellery sets for Christmas! A unique gift.

Great stocking stuffers for kids/teens.

A customized Christmas ornament for your tree.
Almost any colour/design can be done!
Initials for family, pets, or any special person in your life.

Once in a while I get a very special order, and that is for a Swarovski triple-strand,
or double-strand bracelet. Sparkly and made with Swarovski pearls, crystals, and materials,
this bracelet is very luxurious. Please give me time to order special colours if you want one!

 

A more basic Swarovski crystal bracelet. But no less pretty!

I love making pet-themed ornaments.
Ornaments can also be stamped with a married couple's last name, or family members' names.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Crystal Clay Tutorial - how to make a Christmas Ornament (part 1)

Hi Everyone!
I've been absent from the blog for a while.... but on the bright side, I'm enjoying my teaching job AND I have over 200 pages written for my thesis. :) Sometimes life takes over.
 
So I finally have a new tutorial. With Christmas season just around the corner, I'm inundated with all sorts of glittery Christmas ornaments whenever I go out. I love the glitter of Christmas, but I also like to repurpose if I can.

I received this acrylic jewel at a wedding show last year. I had NO idea what to do with it at the time, so it went into my 'stash'. I never throw anything away, as my husband will tell you.

Well, I decided to finally do something with it! So with some Apoxie Sculpt (a brand of crystal epoxy clay), some pearl chatons, crystals, silver microbeads, and pigment, I made this ornament that you now see here. Something special for me and the hubby to put on our Christmas tree this year.

 MATERIALS:
- One acrylic or crystal bead/ornament (big)
- Epoxy Clay (I used Apoxie Sculpt, but Crystal Clay works too)
- A beeswax applicator
- rubber gloves
- decorations (crystals, pearl chatons, anything you want)
pigment
- A screw-eye


 
 
 Step One: Mix the Clay!
 
All epoxy clay comes in an A pack and a B pack.
"A" is the colour", "B" is the hardener. Mix them both together.
Don't skimp on the mixing. If you haven't mixed it properly, the clay will NOT set. Ever.
When your clay is one solid colour, it's finished mixing.
You now have one hour to complete your project before it dries.
 
 Step Two: Attaching Your Clay to the Ornament

Stick your ball of clay on the end of your ornament. Epoxy Clay is sticky and makes a great glue.
Skilled in free-form sculpting? No? I'm not either. Just pull and push your clay downwards until it's where you like it. :)
* Don't worry about the clay being perfectly smooth OR working with sticky hands. We'll get to that later!
 Step Three: Decorating the Clay

There are so many ways you can do this, and so many materials to pick, but in the end I went with pearl chatons. You can pick up a pack for 2 - 5$ at most craft/dollar stores.

 
As you can see, it's just like a normal crystal clay project! Just pick up your sparklies, press them on, and repeat. I left some blank spaces for something special. Don't worry about gaps or clay texture. It will all be fixed!



 
And there you have it. When you're satisfied with how your ornament is decorated, stop.
 
 Step Four: Adding the Screweye
 
A "screw-eye" can be found at most craft/dollar stores, and even hardware stores.
 


Of course your ornament has to be able to attach to something so it can hang from your tree!
Just press the screw eye in. DO NOT wiggle it around! Otherwise it won't stick.

 Step Five: Adding Microbeads
 
Microbeads are a special kind of bead. They are so tiny that they have NO holes. They are ideal for scrapbooking and DIY projects, AND crystal clay. Easily found in dollar and craft stores.
 
Now this is why I left blank spaces on my ornament, and why I didn't worry about rough texture. They'll just be covered with tiny silver balls anyway!
 
Just put your ornament directly into the bag, shake it around, and use your fingers outside the bag to press the balls into your clay.
 
shake, shake, shake
If a bunch fall off when you take the ornament out, don't worry. You've done nothing wrong.

Just use the other end of your beeswax applicator, and your fingers, to press them in securely.
Add more if needed.

Aaaaand VOILA! But we're not done yet!
 

 
 Step Six: Adding Pigment
 
Again, pigment is found in most craft stores/websites. Normally used for scrapbooking.... but also GREAT for epoxy clay. A little container is around 5$ and will last for a long time.
 
Just use a soft bristle brush, dip it in powder, and brush your ornament all over until it is glittery.
As the clay cures, the powder will be bonded permanently.


 
Some detail shots of the ornament, almost finished and glitterfied.




You will notice that some pigment got on the ornament itself. You WANT this to happen. And remember how I said it was okay to work with sticky fingers? Normally when you make jewellery, you don't want the sticky epoxy residue to cling to your metal. But if you leave your sticky fingerprints on the ornament, the pigment WILL adhere there too! That way you get extra glitter on the acrylic itself, and in the easiest way too. No glue or spray needed.
 
Just put it in a dish to dry for 12 -24 hours. :) Be patient!


When it dries, just attach a loop of whatever you want: ribbon, chain, beads.
I made a beaded chain to go with it.
And there you have it. How to make a crystal clay ornament. Enjoy!



I had some leftover clay and I made another ornament.... but that's a tutorial for another day!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Crystal Clay Tips and Tricks


So, once in a while (or often), you try to use epoxy or crystal clay and it doesn't quite go how you plan it! Here's a list of problems I've encountered while using epoxy and crystal clay and how I solved them. Hopefully you find this helpful.

This will be a page that I add stuff to occasionally as situations come up. Also, feel welcome to pose questions in the comments, I will do my best to answer them!

 
Problem:
mixing clay, setting up your crystals... and realizing that you have no beeswax applicator.


Basically I was about to finish an order for a customer... only I'd just finished moving to my new apartment and had forgotten ALL my beeswax applicators for crystal clay. The real kicker of it was, I'd already mixed my clay! As you know, once you mix the two parts of crystal clay together, it dries in 1 - 2 hours and there's no going back. I had to think fast.

Solution:
Take a Q-tip and wrap tape around the end (sticky-side out, of course)

the best way to do this is to put the sticky side on the end, and then put a second piece of tape,
sticky-side in, around the stick to secure the tape on the end.


As you can see, it works almost just as well as a beeswax applicator. Emphasis on 'almost', but I completed my order with no problems.

Just remember to press your crystals in securely with something hard. I used the end of a paintbrush:












Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Some legal housekeeping...

Hi, hello, and greetings....

I haven't blogged in a while, you can blame work and school for that. On the bright side, my thesis is currently at 240 pages and still growing. Yay!

Anyway, I've never really considered certain aspects of my blog, and store, and tutorials. You know, those tricky legal aspects. Copyright stuff.

A fair number of people read this blog now, and that's great! I love sharing knowledge about beading and epoxy clay. However, I logged onto my Pinterest some time ago and was greeted by a little notification:

Names blurred, of course. :)

Now, I know a fair number of people post my designs (not just ones I make available for tutorial, but ones from my store), onto boards titled "ideas". This is fine with me. As long as they are inspired by my pieces to make some for themselves, and not to sell, of course. And frankly, I know, because I am a Pinterest fan myself, that I just pin anything and everything because it looks pretty! Pin away! I do a happy little jump whenever someone re-pins something that I've made.

However, "class ideas" gave me some pause. Especially the 'class' bit. The fact that the bracelet this person pinned came not from a tutorial, but from an original piece that I had for sale in my store, gave me another pause.

Just a disclaimer before I continue: I have nothing against this person and I am not making this post in a reaction to this individual in any way. The pin just brought to my attention that I had few (if any) legal disclaimers on my site.

I don't mind if this person was inspired by my piece and decided to pin it. The issue is that as an artist, I may not want random people to take an original design from my store and teach it in a class. because technically, the design belongs to me. And I teach jewellery classes myself.

So, here's my policy:

Anything I post in "Tutorials" on Pinterest, or on my blog is fair game for people to reproduce. It's a tutorial, after all. However, if it's an original design from my store, that means that I spent hours designing and making it and it is for sale. Please don't copy or reproduce it for sale, or to teach, or to make money from. I designed these pretties, and I am a poor student, and I need to eat. :) Also, my two cats need to eat.

That being said, this person had a ton of pins in her "class ideas" board and she assured me that they were all being used as general ideas. I've met many fantastic people and jewellery artisans and I'm always willing to share knowledge! Besides, it's good karma to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Well, that's it for 'legal' stuff. My husband suggested all sorts of things (he's a lawyer, and he had his serious face on - I like his serious face), but at the end of the day we figured a little disclaimer on my blog would do it.

To emphasize the fact that my cats are cute and deserve to be pampered:

I'm not the kind of person who lets my cats on the table all the time (no one wants cat hair on their burger)
but .... I did NOT have the heart to tell them to move.
And yes, I regularly clean my table.


 
Which makes a great moral for this blog post! Sure, I could have kicked my cats off but I decided it wasn't really worth it and they weren't doing anything horrible. And I'm not a meanie, and I believe in exceptions. So... concerning the designs of any artist... just exercise common courtesy, and make good judgement calls (especially online). I have my own 'inspiration' boards where I post jewellery I love that other people have made, but I never, ever, reproduce those designs for any monetary benefit. I also would never reproduce the designs in any class situation, even a class I volunteered for, unless I have the designer's permission.    




Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beaded Bohemian Custom Wedding Jewellery

Absent from the blog, if not the web, for a month!

I apologize. I have my thesis to finish this month, and lesson plans for a teaching job in the fall. I have two weddings to complete jewellery for.

I did cross some things off my to-do list though. There were two jewellery giveaways - facebook page exclusive, go 'like' my page if you want details on future giveaways. I finished jewellery for a wedding in June.

I also created an official website to showcase my custom wedding jewellery. Figured it would be more professional to have an online portfolio.

You can check it out by visiting http://weddingbeads.weebly.com/ !