Monday, June 2, 2014

Of My Favorite Things and Other Updates...

Finally got back on the bandwagon of setting a blog posting schedule (yay!)! So I'll jump right in, then. Can I just say how much I love Beaducation's website, products, videos, books, EVERYTHING?! I mean, I first found a few of their videos on YouTube when I was looking for some metal stamping hints, but then I started looking at all the goodies on their site and WOW. I want ALL the things. All of them. Seriously, this is probably one of the best sites for metal stamping supplies I've seen. Other sites concentrate on maybe one particular area, like stamping sets, and that's great, especially for price comparison, but Beaducation is just awesome for a comprehensive, one stop, here's-everything-you-need-to-get-started metal stamping source.

And I finally bought some stamping goodies from them a few weeks ago! Can't wait to buy more. I had to limit myself, which was VERY difficult, as it is when you're bombarded with tons of your favorite crafting goodies. So, what am I loving from Beaducation, you say?


Design stamps! I love design stamps and had NONE, so I bought my first design stamp, a heart!

I decided to keep it relatively simple and went with one of the basics for my first design stamp. This one is the Tiny Heart design stamp, and it's one made by Beaducation. It's so adorable!

I also bought some flat copper wire, which I'm going to use to make a bangle bracelet as soon as I acquire some bracelet bending pliers. For other stamping blanks, I kept it *mostly* simple to start with. As much as I love all of the fun and different shapes, I could just see myself buying a bunch of my favorites and them letting them sit and collect dust for ages because I can't think of anything to stamp on them.

So, I got a couple aluminum rectangles that I can either use for necklaces or i.d. tag-style bracelets (and I'm posting the listing pics here because it's way clearer than anything I'd be able to take right now):

Can be found here
An aluminum banner (I have a feeling I'm going to LOVE this one):

A small copper connector that is going to be a Doctor Who bracelet =) :

A copper spiral blank:

And I did go a little funky with two lightning bolt blanks (the other is brass) that I'm going to use for--you guessed it--Harry Potter necklaces. It's going to be awesome:

I also bought a pack of Pro Polish Pads, which I used when I stamped the oval tag for a Doctor Who bracelet, and that thing is as shiny as a brand-new penny. They're amazing. I even used it on the aluminum banner after darkening the letters and I didn't know aluminum blanks could be so shiny. I love these things.

I also finally bought a 1lb brass hammer from Michael's, and was able to use a competitor coupon to cushion the price. What a difference it makes in stamping! When I was trying out my heart stamp, I was having to tilt and tap the stamp in order to get all the edges and it still wasn't turning out the way I wanted! With the brass hammer, I hit it twice straight on, et voila! That's the result in the picture of the impression that I took earlier. I also finally found a decently priced screw-down hole punch at Hobby Lobby this weekend. I'm just so glad to be finally building up all the supplies I should have had when I started.

Can't wait to order some more goodies off my wish list (which, by the way, I had to make in order to ensure that I didn't go overboard!)!

What are some of your favorite suppliers, or supplies? If you're a stamper, what are some of your favorite blanks? design stamps? letter sets?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal!

Okay, so I meant to post a teaser pic, and to post a lot of other things as well, but I feel like the last month has just been nonstop going going going...aaaaand so the blog fell by the wayside, as it does.

Before I get to the posting of the pics, here's my process basically after I opened my bead soup from Patricia (see her blog here). I oohed and ahhed over all the pretty colors and patterns and shapes, then got flooded with about sixteen different ideas at once, so I set them aside before I went completely crazy and burned out the creativity right away. Then everybody started travelling, including me, and I was going to job interviews and designing email newsletters for TEN3 and going to appointments, and landed a job (yay!) and that brings us to this week with the pretty beads still waiting patiently. Then I panicked. A little.

I had originally thought I would make a necklace using as many of the beads as I could. I got to looking at it though, and didn't think I had enough to make a necklace as long as I wanted, and I didn't want to use my usual "cheat" of adding chain at the top near the clasp. I also didn't want all the pretty beads to get lost in the whole thing. So....I made a bracelet!

I also didn't feel like messing with it too much when I took the picture (ahemthismorning). But as you can see, I didn't let the pretties go to waste! I threaded 18ga wire through the black heart, which I assume was the focal (idk, it was the largest bead), and kind of wire wrapped the ends. Then I started adding other beads. I didn't really have a specific process for putting colors/other beads together, I just made sure to grab a couple of the smaller beads to bracket beads with holes too large for the headpins. That blue heart is still probably my favorite! The clasp is just gorgeous, too! And I was thinking when I was surveying all the polka dots, that if I didn't already have the perfect Mother's Day present for my mom, she would love this! So I guess I'll just have to keep it ;) And make myself some earrings with the leftovers, and if I can think of something creative, maybe a necklace using mostly chain and a couple beads that wouldn't work on the bracelet. 

Here is the permalink to the list of all participants:

Happy blog hopping!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bead Soup!

Well, I probably should have posted this a week ago, but that didn't happen, obviously. I got my goodies from Patricia at Bangles and Brew last week, and am now getting the chance to show them off, along with the beads I sent her, since she got my soup, too :)

Here's the box I got, which had a tulle bow tied around it with an adorable orange lampwork flower:

All the individual goodies that I just can't wait to make something with--LOVE that blue heart. And those COLORS!

And one last overhead shot:

Here's what I sent Patricia:

Overhead view of ALL the goodies
 And then packaging:

Now let's get crafting!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bead Soup Sneak Peek

I'm so excited that I get to be a part of the Bead Soup Blog Party that Lori Anderson hosts every year! Last year was my first year doing it, so I still feel like a bit of a newbie, only better prepared, if that makes any sense. Anyway, my partner for the swap is Patricia over at Bangles and Brew. You should also check her out on Facebook and on Etsy. Her lampwork beads are just gorgeous!

Here is a little sneak preview of what I sent her (and I may have gotten a little carried away with all the filters, but I'm not sorry xP):

Monday, March 10, 2014

Being Crafty...sort of

Last weekend, we were up at my grandparents' house, and I had said something awhile back to my dad about making some holders for my metal stamps. The two sets I have aren't made in the USA or otherwise shiny and expensive with their own handy holders, but I'm thinking, "it can't be THAT hard to make your own, right?"

One of Beaducation's stamp sets
Well, technically no, but it *is* time-consuming with all the holes to drill. So I brought my stamp sets and a couple blocks of wood, and while we were there last Saturday, we made use of my grandpa's drill press. And sander. And table saw and probably something else, too, but I'm not a tools person so I have no idea what to call the rest.

Of course, when I say "we," I mostly mean my dad and my grandpa. I already had a block of oak (I think it was oak) that my dad had just been messing around with in the garage and had given me to see if I could use in stamping. It just so happened to be the right size to hold some stamps. My grandpa cut the other piece of wood (which apparently was also very very hard) into a block shape and I think sent it through a planer.

Now, the thing with my metal stamps is that they're square. And drill bits are round. So we were literally fitting square pegs into round holes here. I have three different sets total--a set of 27 lowercase letters and an ampersand, a set of 36 uppercase letters, numbers, and ampersand, and a set of nine punctuation marks/symbols. The set of nine and 36 were the same size, stamp-wise. The set of 27 was a little bigger. We started with deciding that 45 stamps would fit on one block of wood, and drew a little grid on the block to space them out evenly.

My dad drilled three holes in the first block for the 45 stamps before I stuck one of the stamps into it (he was trying to hand it off to me so I could continue drilling, I think, but I was suspicious of the size of the holes). It didn't fit. So the next size up that my grandpa had fit the set of 27 perfectly, and also ended up being the size we used for the 45. My dad just threw out the idea of evenly spacing them at that point and decided to eyeball it while I drew the grid on the other block of wood for the 27.

Once he finished drilling, my grandpa sanded it really fast and then I stuck all the pegs into it, just to see how it looked. There's definitely plenty of room, and a couple pegs sit lower than the others, which is a little weird since my dad had it set to stop at the same depth every time, but I like it. I basically had all of the 36 stamps laying flat on a clipboard.

The set of 27 looks pretty good, too. A couple of the holes seem to be a little snug for the stamps, but there could just be some extra sawdust in there. I'm just glad that I don't have to dump all of my stamps out on the table or floor or wherever just to find the right letters.

I guess I need to start stamping again now that I've got these handy holders for all my stamps!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Art Walk Etsy First Friday treasuries

I try to participate in the whole First Friday treasury-making that goes on each month, but I've forgotten the last two months at least...made sure I remembered this month, though!

Here's my treasury:

And here are a few other FFAW treasuries by other AWETeam members:


Monday, March 3, 2014

A bit of news...

Recently, as you can see from the last couple of posts, I've taken up metal stamping. Mostly because I've always liked the freedom to customize a piece for my own needs, and because it looked fun. But all of my stamped metal pieces clash with my beaded pieces, and even though I love beads, I've finally decided that I'm going to start phasing my strung pieces out of my Etsy shop.

What this means:

For those pieces I have that haven't sold, I'm either going to mark down or leave them be, and if they still haven't sold by the time they expire, they stay expired.

I may also either start a destash shop or at least a section to try to get rid of beads that I know I'm never going to use in a piece for myself. I'm not getting rid of every bead I have (horrors!) because I'll probably continue to make things for myself, or if my dad needs a last-minute gift for my mom like he usually does XD.

What this doesn't mean:

I'm not going to completely discontinue every piece of strung jewelry in my shop. The only pieces I will keep in there are my Once Upon A Time pieces, because I love doing those, and I am going to continue making those pieces.

I enjoy making these stamped pieces because I can let off some of my fangirliness (that's a word now) about my favorite things, like Doctor Who, and Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars, and Shakespeare, and on and on and on. And I know other people like to have things like these that are from their favorite fandoms, and this brand just suits me better than trying to rationalize why a necklace fits with a fairytale theme.

Now as far as all this jewelry goes...I hope I'm not going to be stuck with too many pieces after it's all phased out, but if I am...thoughts on what to do with it all?