Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dried Flower & Resin Pendant

I have a pinched nerve in my neck right now. Besides the obvious "pain in the neck" jokes, it is keeping me from creating anything new. Talk about a hardship for the creative soul! So I am blogging about a piece of jewelry that I created in the Fall.

I have mentioned before that we are lucky to have a neighborhood park within walking distance to our house. Before Winter set in, I would walk Mo (our 2-year-old Bassett-Cockapoo mix) around the trail. Yes, I am a fair weather walker. What can I say?
Mo, my walking partner
In one corner of the park were an abundance of dried flowers in a beautiful deep red color. They were perfect for a resin pendant! I collected several at the end of one of our walks and headed back home. I wanted to make the pendant right away so that the color didn't have time to fade.

I used a flexible resin mold that I got from Hobby Lobby with one of their 40% off coupons. I like it because there is a large assortment and the resin releases easily from the mold.
Hobby Lobby assorted shapes mold; oval shape I used is in lower left corner
I mixed up the Easy Cast resin according to the package directions. I poured a small amount of resin into the mold first (I did this is to prevent the dried flowers from projecting out the front of the pendant). Then I placed a few small pieces of the dried flower in the mold (about 3), and filled the mold the rest of the way. If you are trying this yourself, DO NOT overfill the mold! You don't want it to mound up as if you were filling a bezel; you want it as flat as possible. I used tweezers to move the flowers around to their original position - they almost always move; after all, you poured liquid on top of them! Toothpicks or even headpins If using tweezers or a headpin, wipe immediately.

Then you WAIT. A full 24 hours. No really. There's no rushing resin. Pop it out, and glue a bail on the back.

The result is pictured below. I hope you'll stop by my Etsy shop to see the listing for this necklace.
The finished pendant

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Trying something new - Making Woolywire beads

I think I have mentioned before about the greatest jewelry group on Facebook called Creative Bead Chat (CBC). We share tons of creative ideas, tips and tricks. It's a great place for jewelry designers to be.

One day, CBC member Sandra McGriff posted a giveaway - she had been gifted beads and Woolywire from another CBC member and hadn't gotten around to using it, so she decided to give it away to someone in the group. And guess what, I won!

Woolywire is a product available from yet another CBC member Karen Totten (Etsy shop Starry Road Studio). According to the product description on Etsy, Woolywire is "fiber that has been hand dyed and hand spun onto 24ga solid copper wire can be shaped, twisted, coiled, wrapped, woven through chain, for your jewelry creations. It has been permanently felted to keep fiber fixed to the wire."

I received 3 feet of Woolywire in a mix of blacks and pinks plus 3 ceramic beads - two wavy tube pink beads and one black leaf bead. The curl of the wire in the package made me instantly think of making a Memory Wire bracelet.

I like to make chunky bracelets with Memory Wire, so I went to the stash and started pulling out all the pinks medium sized and a little larger. I did purchase one strand of purple, pink and pale yellow crinkle glass nuggets to tie it together, but the rest came from my stash (hooray). I ended up with 4 rounds of beads.

My original thought was to weave the Woolywire through the entire bracelet - a twist here, loop around a few beads, twist again, etc. etc. But I had made the bracelet too long for that plan! Plan B: cut the wire in fourths and make Woolywire beads.
Woolywire bead!
The Woolywire comes with detailed instructions on how to cut finish the ends, right on the packaging materials. I followed them to materials. I followed them to a T and it worked perfectly.

Instructions included

So here is the finished bracelet. I am very happy with how the beads and the bracelet turned out. I still want to try out the original plan of weaving the Woolywire throughout a bracelet, so I see another purchase in my future....

I am including a link so you can check out the bracelet in my Etsy shop.