Friday, July 31, 2009

Do you want some ice cream?

I've always had a really strong emotional connection to ice cream. As one of my traditional trigger foods, I had to stop keeping it in the house or I would just obsess about it until I would eat it. Mint chocolate chip is my absolute favorite.

When I first saw these chunky stones at a recent bead show my first thought went to mint chocolate chip ice cream. My second thought was that I don't normally care for chunky stones. My third thought had something to do with the room was abnormally hot and wow did I wish I had brought a handkerchief.

I ended up buying them and stuck them in the back of an organizer not really sure what I would do with them.

Sifting through the Handmade Artists Forum yesterday I noticed they were organizing the first of many challenges (I do love a good challenge) called Summer Memories. My mind began noodling and those chunky stones caught my eye again. I happened to have some nice black and silver color aluminum jump rings from a previous project so just did a simple double jump ring thing as the chain.

Here is my summer memory:
One of my favorite summer memories was taking a car ride into town with the whole family and getting an ice cream cone. There were a few different places we would go but my favorite was a small local dairy that had the most delicious sugar cones and ice cream flavors.

For awhile I was hooked on bubblegum ice cream because it actually had pieces of gum in it but eventually I settled on my all-time favorite, mint chocolate chip. I've had such an obsession with this flavor that I had to put it on my list of trigger foods that aren't allowed in the house.

My first husband even dubbed me 'she-who-ate-all-the-mint-chocolate-chip-ice-cream' at one point.

Once the Handmade Artists Forum challenge is up I'll make another post. Until then, feel free to peruse the listing on Etsy.

What are your favorite summer memories and do you have any of your creations that tell that story?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Work in progress, bio contest winner armlet.

Y'all may have heard that Erica ( won the 'give me something crazy to make' contest.

If you recall, here is what she said:
"So I have really been thinking about this & I am having trouble. But I think I am going to go with a spiral wrap bracelet. A bracelet that wraps around your wrists several times (at least 4) but is done with a type of wire that will stretch easily so you can put it on & off. So it will be kind of fitting like a cuff. Then just put all of your talent on the wire in between. Your awesome beads, your wire wrapping skills or your newly discovered metal working skills & lots of color & texture."

I've been thinking about this a lot and there are a few ready-made wire mesh type products you can work with but straight wire-wrapping doesn't have a lot of give to it.

HOWEVER, chainmaille is our friend.

So I'm thinking a fancy wire-wrapped cuff to start the armlet close to the elbow and another smaller one near the wrist to frame it.

Connecting the cuffs and wrapping around the arm (I will try to get in 4 but thinking about it in my head it may end up being 3...) will be a swath of flat chainmaille (what is known as the European 4-in-1 because that's what I'm most familiar with and is also what is mostly used for armor because it lays flat) with a line of probably some sort of crystal at intervals.

I don't think this sketch translates what I see in my head but oh well. I'm going to start this weekend getting all the jump rings cut out.

Hammer goes ting-ting!

I've been drawn to copper a lot lately and this week my Mom sent me a fabulous book call Chic Metal by Victoria Tillotson. It picks up a lot where the metalsmithing class I tried to take (that's another story entirely) left off. Among all my other projects I've decided to go through every single project for fun and practice.

The first project are some hammered wire earrings designed to look like long twigs. I started with copper and really the only problem I had were that mine are more curvy (but then, that fits me) and that the technique of using a brad to make a small hole wasn't the easiest thing in the world.

Next on my list of things I need is a dremel tool with some fun attachments including tiny drill bits. That would have been in the budget too except no overtime this week at ye olde day job. However, I am undaunted! It just makes me want to work on some of my other fun projects until my pennies are saved up for mmmm power tools.

I'm also sketching out the contest prize for Erica of Worthy Soy Candle and Crochet and will post that a bit later. Me thinks she's gonna lurve it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Feature on Jewels by Jules blog!

I've been a fan of Jodi Bombardier since I stumbled across her helpful jewelry blog a few months ago. I was pleasantly surprised when she said she wanted to do a feature of Seedlings Jewelry on her blog! Jodi has amazing wire wrapped creations and shared her knowledge of some good wire sources, etc.

I'm always so happy to find artisans who are willing to share their knowledge with us relative new folks. I hope that I am always able to do the same!

Please read the blog feature here:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Go read, make crazy suggestions, win custom jewelry! What could possibly go wrong?

Team NorGa has posted a lurvely bio about Seedlings Jewelry which I encourage you to read for jolly fun. Also, leave a comment letting me know something crazy you'd like to see me create and a winner will be picked at random. So you could win custom Seedlings Jewelry, how cool???

Get to clicking!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Custom seed packs for custom orders!

You may recall I made a prototype of a seed pack to add to my marketing and packaging materials but I wanted to find paper embedded with seeds to work with. I was able to find computer safe paper from Of the Earth to work with that is fantastic:

"This handmade lotka paper is made in the highlands of Nepal by rural craftspeople in an environmentally friendly process with 50% recycled content. The raw material for our paper is the Daphne bush."

It is also embedded with a combination of tiny wildflower seeds with 15 annual species that tolerate partial shade. I'm going to test this theory by planting some around my house!

For now, I designed a very gardeny seed pack and will be using them to package custom orders. What do you think?


Here's another view to show the text on the back:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Seedlings featured on The Grand Design blog!

I got a note today from Etsian and Handmade Artist Forum member CJ Grand that she thought Seedlings jewelry was beautiful and had featured it on her blog, The Grand Design: The Handmade Tweet!

Thank you so much for the feature and talk to you on the HAF boards soon!

Related Links:
CJGrand on Etsy
Handmade Artists Forum

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thank you Nana Lou!

Hubby's grandma Louise (everyone calls her Nana) gifted me with an extraordinary present this week. She'd given me an entire tub full of watches to explode for my tiara project but I was not expecting this latest surprise. When hubby told me that she had left some jewelry stuff for me to pick up I really had no idea what was in store.

I was driving and we had the dog with us so I didn't even get to open the bag until we got home but wow! Inside were four plastic sleeves similar to what you'd find in a toolbox storage container filled with a variety of mostly bead caps. Now, at first you may think, 'oh, bead caps,' but let me tell you, I have been looking for bead caps and they are expensive.

The ironic thing is that earlier in the day I had just received a package from Singapore from Etsian Artfaerie's shop whom I had bought some bead caps from!

It was obvious that one of the sleeves of bead caps were sterling silver because of the way they had tarnished. I used one of my polishing cloths to give it a shine and wow, dazzling! I knew I had a laborious but fun project ahead of me. I was going to buy some Tarn-x but after reading the label I went for the silver polish instead.

I spent about 3 hours cleaning and polishing the bead caps by hand. I wish I had picked up some disposable gloves but made some temporary protection with some plastic wrap. At one point during the process I had an entire Sham-wow cloth covered in drying bead caps, that's how many there are. (Yes, I got a box of Sham-wows for my birthday...I've said wow a couple times.)

What are pictured are only a tiny sliver of what Nana Lou gave me. In the daylight I notice that I need to go back over some of the caps with the polishing cloth before use but they really did clean up nicely. I'm going to make Nana Lou a pair of beautiful earrings as a thank you. It really is an overwhelming gift and one that I'll really make the most of for a long time to come.

Take time today to say thank you to someone who has helped you in your journey to better art!

Friday, July 10, 2009

A good day with the hammer.

I get crazy ideas all the time. Some stay in my head longer than others I think because I want to have a small taste of success in other areas before I let the new ideas exist. Making my own chain has been on that list. I've dabbled with some chainmaille and also with making my own jump rings but never just dove in until now...

I was spurred by the amazing chains from fellow Etsian and Handmade Artists' Forum member AmongTheRuins (visit her shop right now on Etsy for examples of what I'm talking about). I had also read a great blog post on talking about a phenomenon known as the 100th monkey as it related to using steel wire in jewelry.

Now I don't have any problems following that 100th monkey. After chatting a bit with AmongTheRuins who shared with me the amazing Ace Hardware tips, I marched right down to ours and proceeded to pester the nice man who was very helpful with all sorts of info about steel wire. I marched out with enough wire for a long time and various gauges, some copper-aluminum-galvanized steel-dark annealed steel...I think that's it!

No wait, that's not know how I know this trip was destined? On the way out they had a 20% off sale on night lights including this sock monkey.


I went out later in the day and picked up some clear acrylic sealer (to use with the steel) and some earplugs because the last time I spent any length of time hammering, I regretted not having any. I had an old set of tools that I planned to use with the steel after reading that it would likely bust up my good set.

I also picked up some 6 gauge copper wire from another nice gent at the Home Depot. I asked him if there was any difference between a couple of the bare wire types and he said, 'well this one can handle 200 volts.' I laughed and said that if there was electricity going through my jewelry of that nature that something had gone horribly wrong. He also told me to check their trash bucket from time to time because they would toss short lengths of wire in there that I could just have so nice tip for upcycling. I have no qualms about bucket diving for materials.

So now, it was hammering time. I used a wooden dowel to wind a long length of 20 gauge galvanized steel on to make links. I wasn't really sure if I needed to work harden the wire similar to how I would with silver but I decided it couldn't hurt (laugh now or leave a comment if I can skip that step in the future...). I plugged in my earplugs and commenced to hammer. I love the look of the hammered links with the galvanized steel, like it's built-in rustic.

I pause here to mention that my Dad was a structural ironworker for my whole life. He just recently retired and the whole time I was working with the steel wire I kept thinking about how he spent his whole life twisting wire around rebar and that he would likely chuckle if he saw how I was working with it.

I had purchased some lava beads at a recent show but hadn't done anything solid with them yet. I had toyed pairing them with pearls but the wax coating on the lava beads wasn't holding up that well...if you touched the beads your fingers would turn black. Because I had planned on using a clear acrylic seal on the steel I thought about the lava beads again and my brain went 'ping' and pairing the two became a natural outpouring of feeling and being earthy.

I used smaller gauge galvanized steel for the lava beads and made them wrapped loop links. I really liked the tensile strength of the steel. It wasn't as stiff as I thought it would be and as long as I moved it firmly and a bit slowly, it would go where I wanted it to go. I bought spools of 20, 22, 24, 28 and 32 gauge just to see what the various sizes would be like to work with.

Anyway, the outcome was a lariat length necklace (this one is just over 36 inches) that I simply love.


I'm going to do some more chains with the steel including dark annealed which has a grungy quality that is wonderfully appealing and I'll have to bust out some of the upcycled watch bits from my tiara project.

I also played around with the 6 gauge copper wire and hammered out this rustic copper cuff bracelet.


What do you think? I think I'm addicted to steel and hammering...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Oops, I did it again! (Oh Britney...)

I did it on purpose because the power of the tiara compelled me! All this and more may be true but the fact is that I had a ton of fun in this last Team NorGa challenge and I'm overwhelmed that folks voted for me and I'd like to thank the academy and do some twirls in my whimsy ring.

Be sure to visit the Team NorGa blog (put them in your Google reader or RSS feed) for upcoming team bios, articles, and next month's challenge!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Spinoff store - Seedlings Bits!

I'm launching a spinoff store, Seedlings Bits.

Inside you'll find great deals on handforged findings, earwires, and beads and bits that for whatever reason I've decided to part with...


Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Front and Center: Favorites!

Since it's a holiday my brain is taking a slight vacation so I thought I would just feature some of my Etsy favorites from the last couple of weeks. I always like looking at other people's favorites because you get to see into their mind a bit. My mind is pretty simple really and likes bright colors paired with geometric or natural shapes and the occasional sock monkey or ridiculously cute animal.

What do you think? If you like my favorites, do these Etsy sellers a favor by hearting their item or shop or making a purchase!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Work in progress, Seedling Drops.

I'm taking a jewelry focused metalsmithing class at the Callanwolde Center in Atlanta with Cat Goolsby. The project this class is a pierced cuff bracelet in our choice of metals: copper, bronze or sterling silver.

I'm a copper fan but have a slight sensitivity to it so went with what I know I like, sterling silver. We started the class by coming up with a design for the bracelet and at first I wasn't sure what I would do.

While learning how to use an acetylene torch to solder (which was fun as all get out I tell ya what) I was noodling around ideas on what I thought might look cool. The example bracelet was an abstract zebra print but I knew I was more drawn to geometric shapes and repeating patterns.

I thought about the teardrop or water droplet shape and how on a simple level it isn't that interesting but when you start to intersect the shapes you begin to feel the complexity. I wanted the piece to have almost a 3-D effect beyond just how it was going to be cut out, almost an optical illusion, so I just started playing with shapes in photoshop.

Here is the current design that we'll start sawing out next Wednesday. I revised the design slightly as it had a bunch of super tiny cuts that I wasn't sure I would be able to make effectively. Also, this design doesn't show the wavy sides the finished bracelet will have but I'll get a shot of the metal before I start piercing.

What do you think? Does it have an organic dimensional feel or does it just look like some crazy trilobites?

Ahhhh, all better now.

It feels like my blog has been broken for a couple of weeks now. I had put a snazzy new template on it but then decided it was too busy so tried a simpler one but then all of a sudden everything was broken and I was so busy with projects and work that I had to put it on the back burner.

So not going to try and do a billion posts to catch up but starting now, things are back to normal!

That being said, I discovered that I'm suddenly featured in 3 treasuries! I've gotten into the habit of taking a screenshot for every treasury. I think that's a neat way to remember them.

Okay, big news though, the June Team NorGa fireworks challenge is up and the steampunk fireworks machine pretty lady set is available for voting! Go now, leave a comment and vote!!