A lenient twist on the "item a day" craft challenge

The "item a day" craft challenge has always intrigued me. But it's a huge commitment! Lots of crafters have work, families, and other obligations that may prevent them from crafting every single day. So I decided to see if I could make 7 things a week. Let's see how long I can keep this up.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Week 45: Gears Galore

It's steampunk o'clock again!  The more popular the style becomes, the more materials seem to show up at my local craft store.  I have to admit, the lure of antiqued metals and gears is too much for me to resist.  So in another great showing of my favorite crafting style (gluing things to other things), I decided to work with my considerable steampunk components stash this week.
Clock necklace with key and gear
Clock face, key, and gear pendant on leather.  I love these little flat keys from the scrapbooking section at Joanne's!  They look great and are super easy to attach to other components.
Steampunk style clock and cameo necklace
Clock face, gear, and cameo necklace.  I'm really feeling the clock-y goodness this week!

Steampunk style winged key necklace
Altered key with clock face, hex nut, crystal, and weathered art-deco style "wings".
Fancy steampunk style altered key pendant
Another altered key, this time with gears, scroll work, and a neat little mirror!
Gear and cog pendant
Filigree pendant with gears and hex nut.  I created a blue patina on the base for the pendant  by using the ammonia and salt technique.
Altered steampunk style key necklace
Altered key with keyhole, gear, and fan "wings".  The fans came from the clearance isle at Michael's, and I just knew they had to go on a key!
Steampunk style clock and gear necklace on leather
And back to clock faces!  Clock face with gears and washer on antiqued brass base.  The pendant is threaded on leather, and I added a few gears to keep it company.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Week 44: Au Naturale

This week I decided to try and work with more "natural" materials; stone, shell, pearls and the like.  In do very much enjoy working with all types of materials but I noticed recently that I had fallen into a "polished gemstones and metal" rut.  So I challenged myself to come out of it, and here are the results:

Freshwater Pearl Earrings
Earrings with shell and freshwater stick pearl dangles.  I've had the shell dangles forever, and I'm so glad I finally got a chance to use them!
Fancy Jasper Arrowhead Pendant
Wire wrapped natural stone and fancy jasper arrowhead.  The base arrowhead was a gift from my aunt, the fancy  jasper one on top was purchased at Fire Mountain.
Driftwood and Copper Pendant
Copper wire wrapped driftwood necklace.  I'm really happy with how this turned out, and can't wait to start using more driftwood in my designs!
Steel Wire Wrapped Stone Pendant
Lake stone wire wrapped in steel on leather, with hand-wrapped steel beads.  Making wire wrapped beads was super fun, and I'm sure I'll be incorporating more of those into my future designs.
Freshwater Pearl and Shell Earrings
Shell and freshwater pearl dangle earrings.  I love the iridescence of the black coin pearls! 
Matte Finish Stone Necklace
Matte-finished stone stick necklace, in rainbow of course!  I'm falling in love with matte finishes on stones; it really does make them feel more raw and natural.
Empty watch face turned into a pendant!  I filled it up with this cool box of old animal teeth I had (don't ask...) and some text from an old book.    Then I added some raw quartz point dangles.  I'm sorry for the picture quality; for some reason this bad boy was really difficult to photograph!
It was really nice to get back to working with elements that had a more natural feel.  All in all I feel like the natural elements give the designs a softer feel, which is nice.  Thanks for checking us out this week, and I'll catch you next time!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Week 43: Copper Bonanza!

Copper is pretty much my favorite metal to work with.  I really love the warmth of the color, and I love the way it acquires a patina over time.  Antiqued or natural, I'm a fan.  So I decided to indulge myself this week and use copper in all my designs.
Copper Wire Wrapped Quartz Necklace
Moss Quartz bead on copper paddle pin with spiral wire wrap.  That's a heckuva sentence. 
Copper Princess Style Choker
Multi tiered copper chain choker.
Embossed Metal Disc Earrings
Embossed copper disc earrings.  I love my Big Kick!  Embossing metal is so much fun, and it's a great way to add texture to your designs.
Labradorite and garnet on antiqued copper eyepins and chain.  Simple, but  fun!
I found this cool copper disc at Michael's, and I knew it had to be a necklace for me!    So  I added some dusky purple crystal beads with segments of chain in between.  I have a feeling this is going to be one of those necklaces I wear the heck out of.
Copper plated aspen leaf earrings with fancy jasper accent beads.
Wire Wrapped Stone Donut Necklace
And last but not least, this wire wrapped black agate donut pendant!  I used a piece of scrap metal that I had cut a disc out of as the base, then hammered it and punched holes for adding wire.  I like that you can see through the donut.
I know "copper" isn't all that much of a theme, or even a new theme (it was my first!) but the longer this project goes on I find that I'm more motivated by doing what makes me happy than trying to experiment every single week.  Still, I do hope to have at least a few new themes over the remaining weeks.  We'll see.  : )

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Week 42: Chip Off the Ol' Block

It's no lie, I have a king's ransom in stone chips I've collected over the years.  A small country's king for sure, but a king nonetheless.  I don't really use them so much as I collect them, and I decided that it was time to put the collection to good use and actually make something.  Thus, here are seven stone chip jewelry designs!

Stone chip and leather necklace
Sodalite and quartz crystal necklace on leather.  I'm glad I finally found a use for those giant bead cones!
Stone chip and wire cage pendant
Wire cage (with ammonia and salt patina) filled with raw aquamarine chips.
Russian Amazonite and Amber Earrings
Russian Amazonite and Amber wire wrapped square earrings
Stone Chip on Leather Earings
Tiger eye on turquoise leather teardrop earrings
Garnet, Citrine, Peridot & Amethyst bracelet
Amethyst, peridot, citrine, and garnet chip bracelet.  Hurray for memory wire!
Rainbow Stone Chip Earrings
Chakra chip earrings.  Garnet, carnelian, citrine, moss agate, sodalite, amethyst and quartz crystal.
Two strand amber and rainbow obsidian chip necklace.
 This didn't even begin to put a dent in my stash, but at least it's a start!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Week 41: Dapper Wrapper

I've been wire wrapping again!  When in doubt or too busy to plan out a neat theme for the week, wire wrapping is always a good fall back.  It's my favorite type of jewelry crafting and I'm always behind on making designs that I've sketched out.  So here are seven that went from paper to reality!

Serpentine and Lapis abstract wire wrapped pendant.
Spiral and Rectangle Wirework earrings
Shaded wire wrapped earrings.  I went from Iolite, to Amethyst, to Lemon Quartz, to Crystal  Quartz.  These guys are super fun and sparkly!
Hammered wire wrapped pendant
Wire wrapped agate and crystal pendant.  I hammered the spirals to give them additional texture, and I'm pretty pleased with the results.
Semi-precious stone mosaic necklace
Mosaic-style wire wrapped pendant.  I'm particular fond of this style!  I have so many cute, tiny, semi-precious beads that could be used in this way.  Stone list goes: Rainbow Moonstone, Garnet, Quartz Crystal, Peridot, Labaradorite, White Moonstone, Chrysoprase, Amethyst, Smoky Quartz, Apatite, Rose Quartz, and Emerald Green Adventurine.
Mixed Metal Wire Wrapped Earrings
Wire wrapped copper tube earrings. I added bits of text tape (Tim Holtz!  Which I always say like "Steve Holt!") to the copper tubing, then wire wrapped it and added seed bead accents.  Then, I added the key charms so the bottoms didn't look so naked.  An empty loop is a sad loop.
Wire wrapped amethyst pendant.  I don't know where this design came from, but  I enjoyed making use of the negative space in the middle of the pendant.  I don't usually leave open spaces in my work, and it was nice to try and incorporate space into one of my designs.  Even if it felt really weird, like I had somehow left the piece unfinished.
Copper Spiral and Washer Earrigns
Hammered brass washer earrings with copper spirals! Again, making matching spirals is REALLY HARD.  The good news is that making spirals is pretty easy, so it balances out.
Just a few more days until the end of January!  I'll be back at least entertaining the idea of doing different themes soon.  : )  Thanks for sticking with me, and I'll catch you next time!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Week 40: Hammer Time!

Only 12 more weeks to go!  It seems impossible to me that I've managed to get this far.  And while I haven't been all that great at blog updating, I've been sticking to the crafting portion just fine!  As another treat to myself to get thought this crazy busy month, I've decided to break out some of my metalworking tools and go to town!  nothing helps relieve frustration better than being able to (productively) hit things with hammers. : )

Copper and Amazonite Earrings
These earring were made with little bits of copper tube from Lowes that I threaded onto a knitting needle and hammered. I really like hand hammered texture, and I'm glad I finally found a way to incorporate it into projects with dimensional elements instead of just hitting sheet metal.  Which is super fun too.
The picture isn't the greatest, but I splayed the ends of this copper bar to keep these cool ocean jasper beads from falling off.  I really like "paddle pins" and this was a fun way to use a higher gauge of copper wire without having to loop the ends.
Thunder and Lightning Earrings
These are hands down my favorite project of the week.  Growing up, a lot of girls I knew wanted to be Rainbow Brite.  I wanted to be Stormy!  I  love thunderstorms, and this was a fun way to incorporate that into my jewelry!  I hand cut the shapes from sheet metal (32 ga I believe), then hammered them, torched them to get the nice chocolate patina, and polished the heck out of them to make the texture really pop.
Fun with ring blanks!  I've had this package of aluminum ring blanks forever, and haven't quite been able to figure out what to do with them.  It was my first attempt using these ring blanks, and as such this ring didn't turn out perfect but it doesn't totally suck either.   The ring band is hand hammered, and then I threaded an amethyst bead on an eyepin and attached it to the shank.
Hand Hammered Copper and Quartz Pendant
I love copper pipes!  This is a fun stacked pendant using three different sizes of copper pipes from Lowes.  I hammered the edges to give them texture, then drilled holes in the top of each piece with my dremel.  finally, a quartz bead on a headpin attached the whole thing together.  This necklace is cool, and I imagine that as it patinas with age it'll get even cooler!

Hand Hammered Aquamarine Bracelet
To go with the ring blanks I mentioned above, I also got a package of aluminum bracelet blanks.  This project turned out much better than the ring did.  I hammered the blank to give it texture, then formed it on an old pill bottle.  (Note to self, pick up bracelet mandrel...).  From there I punched holes and wire wrapped some raw aquamarine chips onto the cuff.  I really think that the ruggedness of the chips fits the bracelet well.  I don't wear bracelets, but I'm going to have a hard time letting this guy go!
Hand Hammered Copper and Agate Necklace
The storm earrings just barely edged this guy out for "favorite of the week".    I traced the agate slice onto sheet metal, then cut around the shape in an abstract, free-form sort of style.  Then I hammered that bad boy for texture, punched holes around the stone and wired it in place.  Once I realized that I could fit some quartz square tube beads in between the stitches to make a kind of stone bezel setting I was all over it.  this is one of those rare perfect projects that turns out better in reality than I pictured it in my head.  It was exactly the pick me up that I needed!
All in all, hammering a bunch of items really did help relieve some of the pent up frustration from the past week.  It's nice to take something tense and transmute it into something productive.  Hurray for creativity, keeping me from hammering people since 1995!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Week 39: Shooting Gallery

Sorry to be short this week, but work is exploding all over the place!  I kept the bullet theme going from last week as I still had some designs rattling around in my head, and well... here they are!

Shot gun shell pendant!  I had a fun time sawing off the plastic part of the shell to get just the cool "top" piece.  There's got to be a better way to do that, but so far the internet has been no help.  : )
Bullet Earrings with Sheet Music
Crystal tipped bullet earrings with sheet music.  I'm so glad I got this cool sheet music tape from Michael's!  It's a Tim Holtz product, and it fits these bullet casings perfectly!  If it takes color well, it'll be the perfect accent, and I can guarantee that I'll have a rainbow of these earrings in no time.
Brass Flower Made From Bullet
Bullet flower pendant on leather!  This bad boy was actually harder to make than I thought it would be.  My tin snips cut the casing just fine, but cutting it did harden the metal significantly   rolling up the ends by hand was a challenge.  Maybe if I ever get around to getting a micro torch I could anneal it, because I really like this design and want to play with it some more but my hands really don't like it at all.
Two, that's right TWO crystal points in a wire wrapped bullet.  Could i be any happier?  Plus I'm excited about the raw crystal accents on the necklace itself.  I rely an awful lot on chain to present a finished pendant, and it's nice when I have a cohesive idea for a full necklace.
Triple bullet wire wrapped pendant
Triple bullet wire wrapped pendant.  I wonder which one is jut right?
Bullet Necklace with Lodolite Chips
Bullet casing with stone and bead fringe.  I really had fun making this; putting together the "dangles" let me go through a lot of beads to find the right colors and textures I wanted, and who doesn't love that?
Raw Quartz Point Necklace
And finally, another "bullet tip" pendant.  I''m so happy I saved the bits I cut off with my pipe cutter.  Just goes to prove that crafting is great for justifying my hoarding instincts!
Well, I'm out of bullet ideas but certainly not bullets; I haven't even made a dent in the five gallon bucket I was gifted awhile back.  But unless I can come up with some relatively unique ideas in the next few days, i think this round of bullet crafting has run its course.  Thanks for stopping by, and I'll catch you next week!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Week 38: Bullets Galore!

This month is set to be the most challenging month so far in keeping to my 7 things a week plan.  January is by far the busiest month at work and it's going to take up a lot of time and energy.  So I'm going to try to stick to doing projects that I really, really love as an incentive to get though this month while still keeping my goals, my job, and my sanity.  Well, ok.  I lost that last one awhile ago but you can't blame a lady for trying!  : )  And do you know what I really love?  Bullet jewelry!  And excitingly, I had the though a few days ago that I could probably cut down the bullets I have with my pipe cutter (thanks Lowes!) which would give me more design options.

Bullet Casing Earrings
These tassels came off the ends of a very pretty strand of iolite that I ordered from Fire Mountain.  They were too pretty to throw away!  Once I looked at them I realized that the ends would fit into the smallest of my bullet casings, so of course that had to happen right away!  I love the way they look, but they are super tickley to wear!
Rainbow Bullet Casing Necklace
Bullet Chakra necklace!  The lighting wasn't ideal for photo taking, so you can't really see the colors well.  I used red tiger eye, orange quartz, yellow tiger eye, adventurine, stabilized turquoise, lapis, and amethyst to create the "rainbow".
I saved the tips that I cut off some of the bullets, thinking I could use them and this is what I came up with!  I don't know that you can really tell it was ever a part of a bullet to begin with, but that's kind of the point.  Plus, chain fringe makes everything better.
Cascade Style Amethyst Bullet Necklace
Bullet casing and raw amethyst "cascade" style necklace.  Lots of little bullets with one big honkin' bullet at the end.  I'm super fond of this piece.  I think the gold and the purple look very nice together.

Bullet Casing Pendant
Another cut-off bullet tip repurposed to be a kind of bead cap.  The way the round beads fit into the ends made me really happy.  It's a neat little pendant, and it may have to come live in my jewelry closet.  That's right; not box, closet.  : )
Heart and Bullet Necklace
Glass heart with crystal tipped bullet accent.  'Nuff said.
Bullet casing beetle wing style necklace
And here is the most time-consuming project of the week!  I  treated the bullet casing and all the brass leaves with alcohol inks to add some color, then sealed it with nail polish   (I find that alcohol ink on metal can be tacky to the touch if left unfinished).  I've always loved beetle wing jewelry, but I've been too poor to afford any so this is the next best thing!
I think to keep the momentum going I'll do bullets again next week, which I think will officially make bullets the most used theme of the year.  Congrats bullets, for being an awesome jewelry component.