Sunday, October 9, 2016

Honk If You Love Car Parts!

Who doesn't love a good flea market?

Pasadena's Rose Bowl Flea Market, held once a month, is a treasure trove of goodies for jewelry makers. When I stroll through flea markets, thrift stores, collectibles shops, and so on, I keep an eye out for bargains that can be turned into nontraditional jewelry components.

This necklace is a fine example.

I scrounged a magnetic metal letter "P" from a bowl of auto bits and pieces at one dealer's booth a couple of years ago. Although I didn't have an immediate vision for it, I liked it and knew it held possibilities. One would have been a fridge magnet, for instance. Another would be holding important papers on the front of my file cabinet or as a gift tag on a wrapped present.

This necklace came about from upcycled parts: an old ball chain and the thrifted letter, joined by a simple (strong) jump ring. It's a fun nod to automotive interests and old-model cars and a unisex jewelry piece.

What do you have sitting around that would make an interesting piece of jewelry?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Recycled Halloween?

My crafty crafter friends, if you have vinyl/vulcanite disk beads (from recycled record album material! How cool is that?), here's a fun bracelet to make for Halloween. :-) This idea is easy to adapt for any season or holiday, too. Just vary the vinyl disk color. (You can do this with sequins as well--stack them on memory wire. They appear almost translucent.) I buy these vinyl disk beads at

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Fall Frolic Bracelet, Deconstructed

For each of the past five years, as autumn began dropping hints that she was on her way, I've enjoyed making a variation or two of the Fall Frolic Bracelet. (I sell kits for them too, here.)

This beauty is tougher than she looks: With a memory wire base, she can survive countless on-and-offs, even if they're not as gentle as they might be.

I like to use about 4 loops of memory wire, always cutting it with heavy-duty wire cutters from our garage workshop and not my jewelry wire cutters. (Memory wire is made of stainless steel, which can trash regular jewelry wire cutters.) I also cup (with my free hand) the place where I make the cut on the memory wire (to prevent anything sharp from flying free), and I shield my eyes. 

Along with memory wire (gold-plated, silver-plated, stainless steel finish, whatever), I use the following supplies: black or brown neoprene or rubber tubing, copper-plated coiled wire beads in varying sizes, stone beads in carnelian, agate or other fall colors, and glass beads in assorted sizes, also in fall colors. It's nice to include a few faceted ones, either in stone or glass. 

I cut the black tubing into different lengths to fit onto the memory wire between groups of beads. When working with memory wire, I like to start somewhere near the middle of the coils and work out from there so I'm not sliding every component along the full length of the piece. I slide a piece of tubing on, add a group of beads to my liking, and slide on another piece of tubing, making sure that the tubes and beads fit snugly next to each other - no gaps! As the tubes and beads near either end of the memory wire, I use round nose pliers to curl one end of the wire so the beads don't slide off. Fill up the entire length of the memory wire, varying the bead groupings if you like. It's fun to add a little themed charm to dangle from either end - or both! Be sure that the dangle can't slide off the curled end of the bracelet.

This is an easy design to adapt to Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, etc. It's a great way to use just a few beads to create a multi-loop bracelet too. 

Have fun! Send me a picture to share if you make your own Fall Frolic Bracelet!