As the holiday season continues to creep up on us, I am finding myself feeling a little overwhelmed, and Jinxy has been of no help at all. No different than usual, I always want to get so so much done, but my brain doesn’t get to win every argument, since if my body decides to take a stand and say no more, it is usually expressed by being over tired, or the chronic pain and nausea that I usually have will suddenly worsen until I just have no choice but to stop, decide what is most important, and the rest gets to wait for another day or it just doesn’t get done at all. This year, since I am trying to make as much jewelry for my Etsy store as possible and it has taken up a lot of my free time, there will be no cookies getting baked this, unless my daughter makes them. I haven’t even put the tree up yet, let alone have time for shopping, and although I wish it were so simple, I can’t make jewelry for everyone on my Christmas list.
After the holidays are over, then it will be time to focus on the Build A Line Challenge class that I was accepted into. The class being taught by Brenda Sue Lansdowne, owner/operator/jewelry designer/mentor of B’Sues Boutique will run from January 5th through mid-April. This is an exclusive group, since this is only the 2nd year she is teaching the class, and its very limited in the number of students, because she wants to ensure every student totally understands the concepts and doesn’t fall behind. There will be 3 blog hops, so people not attending the class can follow along and see just how much we have learned. I am seriously looking forward to this class and have even joked that I wouldn’t mind just skipping the holidays and getting to work.
But, January will be here soon enough. In the mean time, I work on all of the challenges that Brenda offers in her Facebook Group. B’Sues Boutique’s Creative Group has almost 4000 members and everyone within the group makes jewelry. Members may be totally new to jewelry making or some members are extremely advanced, have books published, teach their own courses, and everyone else is somewhere in between. One member may be very knowledgeable in metal work, whereas someone else may be more experienced in polymer clay or using patinas, and any other number of things. The group is a great place to learn through Brenda Sue’s tutorials or anyone in the group can ask questions, and if a member knows the answer, they are free to answer. There are absolutely no dumb questions. Sometimes there are some very lively discussions. Everyone learns from everyone. The group is considered to be a “drama free” zone, so no one is made to feel unwelcome, and Brenda Sue takes it very seriously.
Yesterday morning, as I was reading through the group’s news feed, I read as another member was asking for answers to questions. These were actually questions I knew the answers to, so I replied. Within a short amount of time, other members were thanking me for answering, as they had the same questions. I haven’t been making jewelry for that long, however I am a very quick study and once I decide I want to learn something, I will start researching and asking questions, until I have learned everything there is to learn about that specific subject and then I move on to the next challenge. Although I started out doing beaded necklaces, just like most people do, I wanted to learn more. My opportunity came when my husband bought me my first Blazer torch for Christmas, and I have loved metal ever since. I’m still learning, and getting tools, since working with metal requires special items, depending on what your doing to it. I am going to stop here in regards to metal work for this post, since my goal of this post is to answer the easier questions that people new to jewelry making want to know and are sometimes afraid to ask.
First and foremost, if you truly want to make jewelry and if your intentions are to open an Etsy store, or sell on eBay or Amazon, you need to learn the basics and have the correct tools for the job. I highly recommend joining B’Sue’s Group on Facebook, since this is my sanctuary for learning. I have made some wonderful friends and I have learned 10x more than I could have possibly learned without this group. Its not hard to join, just go to her page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bsueboutiquescreativegroup/ and ask to join, its that simple. She has free tutorials on YouTube that cover so many topics, you’ll want to jump in with both feet and get started. Plus you will get a good laugh watching her and her family who are often in the videos interact with each other. AND you may even get to see her kitty, Millie. She publishes a newsletter twice a week, http://www.bsueboutiques.typepad.com/ so everyone knows what’s happening, if she is running any contests or challenges, sometimes she gives away gifts and prizes. Every week is something new. She also sells the absolute best supplies and at reasonable prices: https://www.bsueboutiques.com or her Etsy store for bulk sales: https://www.etsy.com/shop/bsueboutiquesupplies .
So, keeping everything above in mind, the question from one of the group’s newer members was how do you know that what you made is made well enough that it won’t just pull apart or break. The real answer to this question comes down to having the correct products for what you are making. The jump rings from B’Sue’s are all 18 gauge so they are much stronger than what you get at the big box stores. If money is a concern, you could get 18 gauge wire and make your own. Its truly not hard, as long as you have the correct tools, such as flush cutters for cutting the wire. You can also make your own ear wires and there is a little tool for it to make sure every wire you make is exactly the same shape and size. E6000 is the best glue for majority of your projects, unless your setting rhinestones with the foil backing, then you want the GS Hypo Cement, otherwise E6000 will eat away at the foil backing over time and the rhinestones will lose their shine. If what you’re putting together is heavier than normal, you might want to try riveting those pieces, or soldering if you have a torch. You can also solder your jump rings so they can’t come apart.
Another way of making your metal pieces stronger is to get a tumbler and you can harden a piece in just a short amount of time, it is also great for polishing the pieces to shine brightly, which by hand can take a lot of time, plus put wear and tear on your hands and fingers. One other thought I have is always make sure your glueing to the original brass….example if your using one of the necklace bases and you tissue decoupage it, the area that your glueing to, remove the tissue from that spot, just sand it off, so the piece being glued is glued to the brass and not the tissue or it could come apart. Another important piece of information to know is always clean your brass components before you do anything else. When they come from the manufacturer they have oil on them from the machines and if you glue over the oil, they could come apart. So, it’s a good practice to keep in mind when you get an order delivered, use some Dawn dish soap and clean all of the brass components or copper, silver, etc. and then make sure they are very dry before you put them away and they’ll be ready to use when inspiration hits.