Thursday, September 5, 2013

Latest Earrings and How to Create a No-Fail Earring Wire Template

Earrings how I love wearing thee!! 

I do love necklaces too - and rings and bracelets but I tend not to wear the last two often because I spend so much time using my hands creating and typing during the day it’s just not practical.  Even my wedding ring has been put aside during the day after a recent mis-adventure when a piece of wire I was working with (ironically making a wire-wrapped ring!) got caught under my wedding ring and somehow in a plier hinge and the result was a near dislocated finger - yeeouchie!!

Anyway, I digress!  With earrings – even in my klutziest moment, I really can’t damage myself :-).

I’m having a real love affair with swirly, ‘flowy’ earring wires at the moment.  Earrings you can add bead dangles too or simply wear on their own.

Because I can see me making quite a few of these with different colours and types of dangles, I’ve created some templates – wanna know my tips for getting perfect symmetry in your earring pair? 

IMG_7602 IMG_7603
  1. Using some scrap craft wire of the same gauge as your good wire, measure the length of wire and then start forming it into the shape you’ve imagined. 
  2. Cut off any excess wire and measure it.  Subtract this from your original measurement and this will tell you how much you used to make your ear wire. 
  3. Now put your formed ear wire in a photocopier and hit copy!  This gives you a true-life template to put under your good wire as you form it, ensuring you get the same design and both your left and right wires will be exactly the same too! 
  4. Don’t forget to write the length of wire you have calculated on the template so you always know how much to cut with no wastage.
  
E430c  E430g
E431dE431

Monday, July 29, 2013

New Pendants

Steadily working my way through my 'to do' list.  Such a good feeling to tick things off.  Sometimes I make lists just so I can put a line through the things I've already done - I wonder if I'm the only one who does this?!! 

Just a few recently completed pendants...


Next on the list are earrings!


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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What to do About Metal Jewellery Sensitivity

I often have conversations at markets with customers who have metal sensitivity issues or who are buying for someone who does.  It's an incredibly common thing and one of the biggest culprits is Nickel. 

To look at it's a rather beautiful shiny silver metal, unfortunately it contains properties that cause contact dermatitis with LOTS of people particularly when it's worn in a piercing - ears being the worst. In fact, Nickel was voted Allergen of the Year in 2008 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society!!

Nickel
Interesting Facts: 1st classified as a element by Axel Fredrik Cronstedt in 1751, it's element symbol is NI and atomic number is 28, Dutch Gilders (currency) were made of Nickel until being replaced by Euros in 2002, and US 5 cent pieces still contain Nickel. Australia has the worlds largest reserves at 24,000,000 metric tonnes
I ran a quick survey on my Facebook Page to see how metal sensitivity affects my followers and only 16% were able to wear any type of metal.  Wow, that leaves an awful lot of people who have to be careful with what they wear!! Nickel is not the only culprit of course - impurities in metal alloys can also cause an allergic reaction, for example cheap brass.


I thought then, you might be interested to know which metals are considered to cause the least reaction:
  • Sterling Silver, Fine Silver, Yellow Gold 14K +, Niobium, Titanium, Silver Fill, Surgical Steel, Argentium, Copper, Jewellers Brass, high grade stainless steel.
And those that can cause reaction:
  • White Gold (contains Nickel), Nickel Silver, German Silver (does not actually contain silver!!), Cheap Looking costume jewellery where the metal is likely an alloy mix of unknown metals, some stainless steel grades.
There are a couple of things you can try if you want to wear jewellery you know you're going to react too:
  • coat the jewellery with clear nail polish - you'll have to repeat this every now and then as the polish will wear off.  Do be aware that nail polish contains chemicals you may not want to go in a piercing - eg toluene and xylene, so it may be better suited to the back of watches, pendants or clasps, depending on your feelings about chemicals.
  • earring post protectors - these are little polythylene clear sleeves that fit over your earrring post.  A nifty invention, they will increase the diameter of your earring post and may take a little getting used to but will form a barrier between the metal and you!
  • liquid bandage - now this one may seem a little odd but I know someone it works for!  She puts a little of the liquid on the front and back of her ear, and once dry, inserts her earring hook - the liquid bandage provides a barrier between the hook at the back and front from touching the surface of her ear and lets her wear her earrings for longer.  Worth a try if you have some in your first aid drawer!!


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Brooches galore!…

I can’t believe how popular brooches have been just lately – people wanting to add some sparkle and colour to winter tops, coats and scarves . 

I actually ran out completely – Yikes!  So hence it’s a bit like  ‘Brooch City’ on my making table this week. 

Actually, I kinda managed to spread to most flat areas of my lounge … there’s been shells on the coffee table, various brooch components on the dining table, and a rather spectacular spillage of swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls and seed beads on our hideous multi-coloured ‘80’s carpet (thank goodness for the lovely person who once gave me the tip of putting a stocking (pantyhose or tights depending on where you’re from!) on the end of your vacuum cleaner hose to safely retrieve them all.

Here are just a few ‘in progress’ pieces awaiting their backing and brooch findings.  More colour combos to come…

IMG_6683

Are you a brooch lover?  What piece of clothing do you like to wear yours on?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Prettying Up Paua Shell and a New Bracelet

So the paua shell processing has progressed to stage 2 ... getting the 'sea life' and lime coating off the back of the shell!

There are two ways most people do this - hydrocholric acid (ew yuck) or a grinder (possibly even yuckier). No way in the world will I ever use a chemical that is toxic to the environment and dangerous to me and grinding is downright messy and requires an extractor, respirator, safety goggles and probably overalls for good measure!

So I've been experimenting with different eco-friendly methods I've dreamt up and think I've hit on a winner that doesn't require too much elbow grease either.

From this....

2013-04-13 17.43.01

To this ...
Photo 13-04-13 5 43 47 PM

Not all done as I'm processing them in small batches, and these ones still need a little bit of work but I'm pretty darn happy with progress so far!

On the creating front, I was keen to use some beautiful deep purple silk chiffon ribbon I've had a while and combined it with some pretty chinese Amazonite rounds in the palest bluey green to make this knotted bracelet.  It's super comfortable and I love the colour combo.  What do you think?  Shall I make more?

I have some great silk strings and other semi-precious stones I can use too

Photo 17-04-13 8 08 54 AM

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