Friday, December 31, 2010

A Recap of My Hand Made Christmas

Christmas was great this year. I stuck to my handmade/art supply pledge almost 100%. I was also the recipient of many awesome hand made goodies and art equipment/supplies. But of course the best part of the holidays is seeing family, eating food, and building fires.

Here are the hand made items I managed to finish just in time for Christmas this year.

Like a true procrastinator, I stayed up 'till 2:30am Christmas Eve to finish this cowl designed by my friend Melynda. The yarn is so soft and warm!
My mom just LOVES her new cowl!
  I'm so pleased with the outcome, and it was an easy satisfying knit.

For B Nummy I made silver cufflinks, every guy needs a good pair!
I have been planning to make these since I first moved to Ann Arbor (5 years ago). 
That's how old my sketches were for these! They were not quite as 'easy' as the cowl, but just as satisfying.
Did you receive any handmade gifts this year? Or perhaps make gifts for others? Do tell! 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fossil Frenzy

There is something really captivating about a fossils to me. Not only the beautiful and sometimes unexpected patterns interest me, but the history the stone represents. Like many Michiganders I have fond memories of collecting Petoskey stones on many beaches.
Unlike Petoskey stones which are fossilized coral and usually have only grey/brown hues, petrified dinosaur bones can vary widely in color. The color depends on which minerals it is petrified with, calcium, silica, or quartz. Though difficult to see, this dino bone has a beautiful pattern of oranges, reds, and brown hues with pockets of white quartz crystals (click to enlarge image).

But enough history and geology...back in the summer of 2006, I bought this cabochon (among others) from a little shop up in Frankfort Michigan. I finally got around to setting it and also made custom chain. I chose to add a carnelian bead to draw out the warm colors in the cabochon.
It is defiantly big, and therefore somewhat of a statement piece. I constructed the bezel somewhat unconventionally, putting a break in it where the rings attach on either side. I liked the visual difference. Overall, I think this piece has a modern clean look, and I like the contrast of modern feel with such an old specimen.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Heart Holiday Paper Craft

This year has been a very busy holiday season. So busy in fact that Brian and I did not have time to get a tree! Which was a bit of a bummer to me...BUT I spent time making some great holiday paper crafts instead of time decorating a tree.
You can find directions for these here.

And as part of my hand-made pledge, I made more of these for my coworkers as gifts this year...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Beach Glass- Custom Pendant #2

Remember this post? Well I'm making good on my promise, here are some photos of my process along the way for the second pendant I'm making for Bryan. First, the beach glass pieces, I wanted to show these beauties...I'm jealous I don't get them for myself.
First step, make the base for each glass piece, cut, file and solder to proper shape...
Step two, make a lot of prongs by melting silver wire at one end into balls, file and attach each to the base, add loops to the corner peices...
I was not quite in the clear after adding the prongs. It is a little tricky to estimate exactly how long to make the prongs because each piece varies in thickness. I admit I had to remake a few. To hold the pieces securly a few more prongs were added as well.

Step three, attaching the individual bases to make one uniform base (not cleaned up yet)...

This was by far the most difficult step. Primarily because keeping the solder points of the prongs in tact while joining the pieces is a bit tricky (even when using different temperature solder). You can actually use white out to prevent solder from flowing, but the fumes are pretty rank. So until I get air filtration system in place I avoid using it at home. 

Final outcome...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Baar Bazaar

This Friday!
Check it out and buy handmade!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Easy Ornaments

Cold weather + snuggling under a blanket + cup of tea = feel like gettin' crafty.

This year I took a handmade pledge, meaning all gifts I give will be hand made either by me or another artist.  Ready Made's Nov/Oct issue featured little geometric balls made out of paint samples. When I first saw them I immediately thought it would make neat ornaments for a Christmas tree.

Blue House also used this idea to make ornaments at one of their workshops. I learned a few great tips there. One was cutting out an equilateral triangle out of card stock (instead of tracing triangles on every individual circle). Another was punching holes in them and using them as covers on a string of lights. So cute!
Building each side with 5 circles and adding the middle layer (left)...Top & Bottom portions (right)...
This ornament along with some super cute magnets I scored from Blue House were packaged together. I used them in a traditional $5 gift exchange at a family Christmas party. Perfect!
Full directions are here for detail on how to makes these guys.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mitten Made at Blue House

Still looking for gifts this holiday season?
Blue House has got you covered!
Support hand made and shop local all in one stop this year at Mitten Made.
Saturday December 18th from 11am-6pm
If you haven't stopped by the Blue House shop before you are missing out! Many local artists will have their handmade goods for sale. Knits, prints, jewelry, illustration, sewn goods, photography and a plethora of other great gifts can be found.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Three Things for 30

Many of you know I will be turning 30 in April. Instead of dreading it I decided to use it as motivation by making a list of three things to accomplish by the time I'm 30. Since I have a few months, I wanted to make my goals challenging but realistic.

The first things that came to mind in no particular order were
1. Organize my Jewelry Studio Space
2. Organize my Craft Room (sewing, knitting, and paper craft supplies)
3. Design a business card, packaging, and make promotional materials for Three Birds Jewelry

You may remember a preview of my studio. And, I think you would appreciate the challenge of task 2 if you have seen my craft room lately (too embarassed to show a photo). For #3 I will rely on my knight in 'creative' armor for help.

Ok, so really Brian will likely help with anything having to do with building.

Well, I think I got the 'challenging' part down...not sure how 'realistic' my list is though since we are (still) building a fence and plan to tile the kitchen floor soon.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beach Glass- Custom Pieces for Bryan

Recently a friend Bryan asked me to make some custom jewelry. As a pastime, he and his wife collect beach glass along Lake Huron. I haven't worked with beach glass but have always wanted to beacuse it's beautiful colors and rough natural appearance.

I really enjoy custom work because with the right client I can use my artistic digression. It can also be an opportunity to work with new materials.

Bryan wanted a necklace and earrings set. I knew my biggest challenge would be 'flow' since no two pieces of beach glass are alike.

Bryan really liked two pendants I sketched so he asked me to make two! Both necklaces feature multiple glass pieces. In case I could not complete them BOTH before Christmas he choose one necklace to start (thanks to Laura who reeled me in on that one).

Since the glass would be roughly shaped I decided to use prong settings. You may remember this piece with prongs, but I had another 'method' in mind. It was also important to allow light to come through the jewelry.

Making prong settings in this fashion was WAY easier than with the coral and larimar piece. This was because I did not have to hold the prong perpendicular to metal sheet while soldering. I thoroughly enjoyed making these pieces, I was really in the zone during construction. Some other shots...
Stay tuned, I plan to post about the other pendant with photos that show my process...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ypsilanti Craft Meetup

Corner Brewery in Ypsi is hosting a craft meetup tonight starting at 7:30pm.
I won't be able to make it, but for all ya'll who don't have something going on a Tuesday evening, it sounds like fun!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Patty Pendant

When my brother and his girlfriend Patty visited in September, Patty was sweet enough to bring gifts. Thoughtful gifts too, B Nummy got fudge -the real deal- from Mackinak and she couldn't decide which of two necklaces to get for me so she bought both!

I was bummed when one of the stones came loose in it's wire wrap setting. The stone had slightly chipped. I removed the stone and decided I would take it upon myself to transform the piece.

I wanted to set the stone because it would be more secure and protected. So I started sketches. Here they are so you get a preview of how my brain least sometimes.

The stone was rather soft, I filed the chipped part (at the point) and the ridges that used to hold the write wrap. Good as new!

I didn't want to set it with the point at the top, avoiding an 'expected' setting. My first two drawings felt a little too bulky, so I traced the stone in two directions (3rd drawing, left) to create a mirror image. This brought balance and a lighter feel.

That transitioned into a circle rather than the exact shape of the stone...the wheels were turning! I stared my construction modeling after the 2nd sketch on the right. I had a lot of trouble with this construction, getting solder to flow completely for the bezel was one issue.

I actually meant to do a cut out on the back (3rd drawing, right).  But I got excited when all the soldering was completed successfully. I set the stone before even thinking about the cut out. I think perhaps it wasn't meant to be...even if a cool idea.

Final piece includes some custom chain and has a brushed finish:

Brian said it reminded him of alien crop circles, not sure how I feel about that!? What do you think? Feel free to comment below!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Support Hand-Made this Holiday Season!

I've taken a 'hand-made pledge' this year. I'm either making gifts myself or buying hand made (with the exception of buying art supplies for others). It can be challenging to think of ideas for everyone, so I put this list together on Etsy. Enjoy!

Find me...


I Took The Handmade Pledge!