Jul 282010

I’ve written about Generation Gems before…I LOVE their engraved beads for brag bracelets, and the customer service I get from Toni and the crew is absolutely the best.

Last Wednesday, I got a Convo on Etsy (Convos are Etsy’s version of a private message) from a gal who wanted to order a brag bracelet for her mom’s birthday…and it was a rush order.  She needed it by July 30 – and usually I require 3 weeks lead time to order, receive, create, and mail one off!

I called Generation Gems, talked to Toni, and we figured out a plan of action.  While I was on the phone with her, she mentioned that they had some new engraved beads and new fonts for engraving.  The following day, I ordered three hematite beads for my customer…and I received my order on Monday!  I had an out of town guest Monday evening, so I didn’t get a chance to open the box and work on the bracelet, but I got up early this morning to work on it, so that it could be mailed out today.

Opened my package, and had a great surprise!  Not only were my beads in the box (carefully packaged, like always!) but Toni had also included a sample of the new “Reflections” bead!

The Reflections Bead looks like a nut you’d buy in a hardware store, but with a smooth center instead of threaded…and made from sterling silver.  And engraved with names and birth dates on the four sides!  The hole is large enough for a Pandora-style bracelet, Viking Knit or other bangle type bracelet.  The square shape is unique – it’s very industrial-looking.

At $50 per bead (retail), the beads are a little pricey, but what an original gift!  I can definitely see Generations Gems’ Reflection Bead as something to be handed down…for generations! 😉

And that brag bracelet?  Done and on it’s way to Tennessee. I hope the recipient loves her new work of art!

Jul 252010

One of the things that really intrigues me is using items that aren’t really designed for jewelry in a jewelry design. (Boy, does that sound convoluted or WHAT.)

Like computer parts. Ruth Smith’s etsy shop, Periwinkle Dzns is a great example. Described as “handmade geek nerd jewelry/jewellery made from upcycled computer parts: resistors, capacitors, diodes, oscillators….”, she uses stuff that would otherwise end up in a dumpster, and turns it into functional and fun mini works of art!

And check out these steampunky pieces, made from old hardware and harness leather by Devin Johnson of Make Shift Accessories. Our booths were next to each other at the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts this summer, and not only is his work fresh and fun (bracelets made from old license plates and street signs are another of his creations), but he’s just a cool guy and fun to chat with.

I’ve got a few ideas for upcycling myself…some of you might remember that my parents “graced” me with a huge box of copper tiles from their kitchen remodel. The tiles used to be a backsplash, and I’ve used the sheet to make Christmas ornaments. Plus, hubby’s been cleaning up some of his work areas, and has gotten in the habit of asking me “Do you want this?” instead of tossing things like copper tubing, wire and other goodies.

So take a look around, get some inspiration from Ruth and Devin, and anyone else who’s using “green” components!

Jul 242010

Heh.  Make rings.  Finger rings, that is…not jump rings for once!

Rose Ring by Lynn Kvigne

Rose Ring by Lynn Kvigne

These cute little “rose” rings are made using 2 6″ sections of 20g craft wire.  I found that putting my ring mandrel in a vise helped with production, as I’m not always fighting to keep it stable.  My next show is our local county fair, and these go over pretty well with the fair crowd…so I made up 21 of them last night in about an hour.

You can make these pretty quickly once you have the hang of twisting the wire.  Here are the basic steps:

1. Cut 2 pieces of 20g wire (craft wire, copper, silver) 6″ long each.

2. Using a ring mandrel (or a dowel a little larger than your ring size if you don’t have a mandrel), wind both pieces, side by side around the mandrel.  Wind the wire at the size mark that is 1/2 size larger than your ring size.

3. Twist the four ends around each other in a knot.  Twist again, making a double spiral.

4. Remove the ring from the mandrel.

5. Wind the ends (two on either side) around the ring band twice.  Clip the ends.

6. The raw ends will be a little sharp!  You’ll want to either gently file them or put your ring in a tumbler with stainless steel shot for about 30-45 minutes.

Wear it with pride!