Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two for Tuesday: 3x3 Square

Hello everyone! Sorry I've been absent for over a week. I got a chance to visit my grandmother right before school started, went to my first week of classes, and *sigh* took my old job back. However, I've come up with something to keep me posting at least once a week for most of the next year.

I'm going to start a series of blog posts called Two for Tuesday. (If you have a better name, please share). You will see a minimum of one sketch and one photo of the finished piece made from the sketch. Our ideas have to come from somewhere don't they?

I seem to find myself stuck somewhere in the middle when it comes to designing jewelry (or anything else). One one hand, there are people who never put pen to paper before creating a piece. They record their ideas during the creation process. On the other, there are those that plan out every single detail before even picking up a tool. I do both, or neither, or even sometimes one or the other.

For today's piece I planned out the majority of the details before hand, especially since this was my first metals assignment in 2008. We had to make a 3x3 square out of sheet metal with a minimum of three sheets of copper, nickel silver, brass, or aluminum. I did five layers with a bit of exterior decoration (mostly to hide my terrible first attempts at tube rivets). The project had to be a self portrait with a bit of personal information. I had just moved out of my sister's home at the time, which explains the keys and the door.

As in most pieces, I strive to include some beadweaving in my work. My instructor was dubious about including any, but my beaded screen doors came out fairly well. Here's a mosaic of the sketches, paper maquette, and the finished piece. What do you think?

Photo collage: www.photovisi.com

I have to say that the most important thing I've gotten out of college is to always keep a sketch book nearby. You never know when inspiration will hit and you can have a written or visual record of all your ideas, whether they be stupid, silly, phenomenal, or abstract.

I think the evolution of a piece from concept to completion should be recorded if possible.

Friday, August 19, 2011

FREE: Beaded Washer with Scallop Stitched Edging Tutorial

Hello on this fine middle of the night/morning! Blogging in the AM. Look at me being productive! I wanted to share my latest design:

I made this last night while trying to tell myself that I can make new designs with old ideas. (Trying not to beat a dead horse here). It turned out vastly better than expected! I almost always forget that scallop stitch provides such a pretty edging. I learned it years ago and have since applied it to my work only a handful of times. *shame on you Tamara* Never fear! I will promise to use it more in the future. This is the reverse of my newly created beaded washer pendant:

If you would like to purchase this little beauty, then please visit my Etsy store. I just finished listing it (among updating almost everything on my web pages).

However, if you would like to learn how to create the turquoise washer, read on:

Beaded Washer with Scallop Stitched Edging Tutorial


· Size 11° seed beads in two colors

· Size 8° seed beads

· Fireline

· Needle

· Scissors

· Washer (any size)

Step 1: Attaching the thread to a washer.

Make a loop with the tail of your thread using an overhand knot (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1

Make a lark’s head knot around a washer by passing the needle through the washer and then through the loop (Fig. 2). Pull tight.

Fig. 2

Step 2: First Round

String two Delicas. Pass the thread under the washer and back through the second Delica (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3

Using this brick stitch technique, continue adding one bead at a time until the washer is stitched with an even number of beads. Pass down through the first bead, under the washer, and back through the first bead. The first round is complete (Fig. 4

Fig. 4

Step 3: Scallop Stitched Edging

3A: String 5A and pass down through the third base bead. (Fig. 5) Pass up through the second base bead.

Fig. 5

3B: String 2B, an 8°, and 2B. Pass down through the fourth base bead. (Fig. 6)Pass up through the third base bead and the last A from the previous unit.

Fig. 6

*String 4A and pass down through the fifth base bead. (Fig. 7) Pass up through the fourth base bead and the last B in the previous unit.

Fig. 7

String 1B, an 8°, and 2B. Pass down through the sixth base bead. (Fig. 8) Pass up through the fifth base bead and the last A of the previous unit.*

Fig. 8
Repeat from * until you pass down through the last base bead.

Pass up through the next to last base bead and the last B from the previous unit.

String 3A and pass down through both the first A from step 3A and the first base bead. Pass up through the last base bead.

String 1B, an 8°, and 1B. Pass down through both the first B from step 3B and the second base bead. Weave the thread through your work and trim.

*Note: remember to pass the needle under each seed bead unit as you pass up through the two seed beads.

You should end up with a washer that looks like this:

If you have any questions, please let me know. Keep in mind that I am writing this during a time that any reasonable human being should be asleep.

And yes, those are my fingers. Somehow, I've always had a hard time believing that one can have pretty fingernails AND work with their hands. (That is unless of course you are paid to do so). Personal opinion I guess. The up side is that I quit biting my fingernails in February!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tamara Spills Her Show Secrets

The secret is I have no secrets. I have an ever changing conglomeration of ideas. I am constantly on the lookout for new and interesting jewelry display ideas. Here are some of mine. I suppose you could call this a tutorial, but in creative display rather than jewelry making. Here goes!

*******Please note that this is my one day show setup. I would never leave my stuff overnight anywhere unprotected.*******

Everybody, these are Bob, Sue, and Joe. Bob, Sue, and Joe, meet everybody!

These are Bob's legs. Use short lengths of PVC to elevate the table about six inches above the ground. This allows the items displayed on the table to be seen better without having customers bend over too far. We don't want to promote bad posture, do we? No slumping!

Next, we're going to take some adhesive velcro and cut out little squares. Peel off the back of one side and stick it to one of the tables. Use three or four squares for the long side of one table. Use one square on each of the short sides of the table as well.

Then place one of your table cloths over the table. Peel off the other side of the velcro squares (still attached to the squares on the table). Press firmly to the table cloth.

Here comes the fun part! Heck, on a hot day, none of this is fun. But make sure to arrive at the location in plenty of time to set up your booth to your liking. Also bring lots of water.

Next, I fold the table cloth on the sides of the short tables up to keep it off the ground. I pin it in place with decorative brooches at the back:

I put a greenish brown cloth evenly draped over the center table (Bob). Since Bob is taller, there is no need to fold the edges of the table cloth. Mine doesn't reach the ground and won't get tripped over.

I used teal ones for the side tables and draped them at an angle to direct the eye to the center of the booth:

I picked up these handy plant stands at Wal-Mart a couple years back. They're perfect for elevating your art to the next level! (*snickers at totally intended pun*)

This is a collapsible corner shelf that I picked up at an antique mall where I live. I wrapped a sheer window curtain around the edges to dress it up a bit.

Place shelf between the plant stands, and voila! Triangular display with plenty of height! There's nothing sadder than seeing beautiful jewelry displayed flat on a table. Hand crafted work deserves better.

Arrange the remainder of your displays in whatever way looks good. I have a couple more plant stand and what my Big Lots receipt claimed were magazine racks. *shrug* I thought they were pretty. (I sold the mannequin at this show, which suits me fine. Often, I will get offers for people to purchase my displays rather than my jewelry. I used to be upset about this, but now I figure it gives me a chance to remodel!)

Time to dress up the plant stands! (Chances are that you will be the only one who notices how much better this step makes your booth look, but it can be our secret, okay?)

Want to see how it's done? Guess what? Paper! Take two long strips and tape them together in the size of a circle that fits the specific plant stand you are decorating. I used wallpaper samples! (I got the wallpaper samples by dumpster diving. Never underestimate a college art building dumpster. :-) Use more than one color if desired.

Go ahead and plop a plate on top! Tada! Instant pretty display or some such contraption. Repeat for the other plant stands.

Why not just use more plates for the magazine rack thingies? I placed mine upside down and then put the plate on top. Or is it the bottom?

Set your necklace pedestal and jewelry on your new displays. Horray! Beautiful work at eye level.

Don't forget to have a sign of some sort that prominently displays your business name. Here's a cute idea: painted suitcase. Jenna did this one for me. Wait. This was done with markers. AND it doubles as a curtain and/or table cloth carrying case. Functionality is key, especially when traveling a lot.

I love those little green chairs! Too bad they take up a lot of space. The following are images of my finished booth. Enjoy!

Mirrors to display pieces on. Bargain basket for thrifty shoppers.

Here is a mirror prominently placed in the center shelf right at eye level. Customers can easily view how your creations look.

Full shot:

Guest book and business cards:

And finally, but definitely not least: sketch books and a portfolio of your work. I went overboard here on sketch books. I usually have one hanging around, especially if you place it in front of a finished piece. Customers find it amusing. (Or they chide you for sketching during English class.)

I hope this helps a bit. It should spark a few ideas. My two and three day show setup is quite different. To see that, hop over to my Evolution of a Craft Tent album on my Facebook page.

I did this blog post because I see some people asking for advice about jewelry setups. I am by no means an expert, but am always willing to share what I do know! I also have a really hard time when it comes to finding inspiration for displays. I guess my best advice is to go shopping at thrift stores, discount stores, home and garden places, and antique malls. You never know when an idea will pop into your head. Just experiment and have fun.

Always remember that a booth setup is a constant work in progress. I am tweaking mine all the time and am actually planning a complete overhaul to match my de-cluttered take on life. Or not. Who knows? Until next time......

Is it safe to blog and cook at the same time? Probably not.

Destash Giveaway!

Hello all,

I've been busy this past week getting rid of junk. By junk I mean beads. .....oooohhhhhhh........ Okay, they're not junk. These beads are just not my style, or I have too much stuff, or I never opened something, or, or, or. The list goes on. I've decided to share my 'junk' with my blog buddies. I am hosting a destash giveaway on my Facebook page. Here is the link:


This is a photo album. Simply comment on the photograph of what you want. I will confirm that you can have it. Send your address via Facebook message and let me know if you'd like to donate a small amount for shipping. That's it! All items will be mailed out once enough of my stuff has been claimed. Probably Monday or Tuesday for good measure.

I decide to do this because there are not many beaders, jewelry makers, or artisans in Wichita Falls. Well, I know a small handful, but not enough. I didn't want this stuff to end up at Goodwill, back at Goodwill, or untouched for another 10 years. Happy Friday to everyone!