Sunday, November 29, 2009

New homes for your Feathered Friends

Feather the Nest has new listings for handpainted gourd birdhouses just in time for Christmas gift giving. Chickadees, hummingbirds, cardinals, a blue jay, eastern bluebird and indigo bunting are among them. Each one is prepped by Fred and handpainted by Bonnie. They are embellished with jute and copper wire to make a hanger in the shape of leaves and tendrils that will oxidise to a beautiful chocolate brown with time.

Each gourd is sealed with spar varnish to protect it from moisture and fading.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Spotlight on: Ten Digit Creations

Ten Digit Creations is an Atlanta based etsy shop. They offer an amazing array of products for Bath, body and home. Soy Candles, body lotions and soaps in a wide variety of fragrances from Acai Berry to Violet Vixen.

I had the pleasure of gifting my sister for her birthday with Lime Twist soap by Ten Digit Creations. The cold process method that they use makes a luxurious bar that she was very happy with.
I wanted to bring to your attention some of their Thanksgiving themed concoctions. Happy Shopping!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The FamiLee Jewels have created an etsy treasury entitled Early Snow to celebrate the sudden crispness in the air. Cooler weather heralds the coming Holidays and we look forward to them.

How to Make a Wrapped Loop

This wire technique requires patience and practice to get the perfect loop. The wrapped loop is a bit more difficult than the simple loop but it is much more secure.

You will need:
1. Flush cutter
2. Round nose pliers
3. chain nose pliers
4. bead
5. headpin

Place the desired number of beads on a headpin.
Grasp the headpin just above the bead with a round nose pliers.
Using your fingers bend the wire to a 90 degree angle.
Move the round nose pliers to grasp the the wire just above the bend.
Using your fingers wrap the wire 1/2 way around the top jaw of the round nose pliers.

Move the round nose pliers so that the bottom jaw is inside the partially formed loop.

Using your fingers wrap the wire the rest of the way around the pliers to make a complete circle.

Grasp the loop from the side with the chain nose pliers.

Use your fingers to tightly wrap the excess wire around the stem below the loop.

Two wraps will do.

Trim the excess wire.

Adjust the loop as necessary to make the circle look like a lollipop on a stick.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New from The FamiLee Jewels

Just a quick peek at some of the goodies coming out of the workshop this week!
A Dolphin necklace made with an antique drawer pull.
Beautiful turquoise beads make a dramatic necklace when strung with black and white wood beads for contrast.
Copper bangle bracelets in a variety of textures.
Wear them alone or in groups of 3 or 5.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spotlight on DaleRocks09

I have always loved collecting rocks and shells and bits of stone that look like "something". Dale of Dale Rocks 09 sounds like a kindred spirit.

Dale describes himself as a longtime rock hunter but he has only been cutting his own stones for 5 years. You would never know that his lapidary skills are that new. Dales fine lapidary skills are coupled with the eye of an artist to create beautiful cabochons that let the beauty of the stone shine.

Dale mines his own Mozarkite and Misouri Lace Agate in the Ozarks. He also cuts other rock when he finds an interesting specimen.

I wasn't familiar with Mozarkite until seeing it in Dale's etsy shop. I am now the proud owner of 2 pieces of this attractive highly-colored rock.

My current favorites in DaleRocks09 are a fabulous free form cabochon of Morrisonite Jasper and a striking jasper cabochon in colors of orange and brown.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to Make a Simple Loop

Simple loops (also called headpin loops and plain loops) are the most basic of wire techniques. This wire technique requires practice and patience to get the perfect loop. It is a valuable technique to master as you will use it in almost every wire wrapped project.

You will need:
1. a bead (give yourself a break while you are learning and use a good sized one 6-10mm is perfect)
2. round nose pliers
3. flush cutters

Place the bead on the headpin. Bend the headpin against the bead so that the wire forms a 90 degree angle.

Trim the wire to 5/8 inch.
Grasp the tip of the wire with your round nose pliers. The wire should be at the half way point on the jaws of the pliers.

Roll the wire into a loop by rotating your wrist. Stop bending when you have made a complete circle.

With one jaw of the round nose pliers inside the loop hold the bead and bend the wire to make the loop line up over the bead like a lollipop on a stick.

Make a mark on your pliers with a sharpie pen if you are making more than one loop. This will ensure that they are all the same size.
To open the loop hold the beaded pin in one hand.

Grasp the side of the loop with a pliers in the other hand.
Open the loop by moving one hand toward you and the other hand away from you.

Do not open the loop by spreading the ends apart as this will weaken the wire and destroy the round shape.

Make a second loop with a matching bead and headpin. Add your beads to a pair of earring hooks by opening and closing the loop as instructed above. Wear the earrings you have made to show off your new skill.

These photos show several projects where simple loops have been used to attach beads to a charm bracelet, a pair of earrings and as decorative embellishment to a pendant.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

FamiLee Ghouls

The FamiLee Jewels love Halloween and it is even more fun now that we have babies again. Becky and Dennis came to Trick or Treat yesterday and they brought Fireman Freddy and his 2 Dalmatian fire dogs Spot1 and Spot2.

We all had lunch and Halloween Cookies. We made a Mr. Pumpkin head and then dressed the little ones, including the 2 bad dogs, and set out. It was a beautiful afternoon. The sun was shining and the Autumn breeze was blowing leaves around.

It only took Freddy about 4 houses to get the routine down. He was very polite with his "Trick or Treats" and "Thank yous".
The boys enjoyed all of the Halloween decorations in the neighborhood. Especially the ones that talked or moved.