Friday, December 4, 2015

Three Great Christmas Jewelry Tutorials

Hi, everyone! 'Tis the season for giving, and if you're like me, you love making gifts for the loved ones in your life. Let's kick off the crafting with three tutorials for Christmas jewelry. :)

The first one comes courtesy of Rings & Things - a Christmas Tree Window charm! Isn't it beautiful? This tutorial even comes with a shopping list. You could use the charm as a pendant, or make two for earrings, or use as part of a charm bracelet or keychain. It's a very versatile design.
The next tutorial I'd like to share is to make a "quickie" pair of candy cane earrings: Quickie Candy Cane Earrings from Prima Bead (courtesy of All Free Jewelry Making). Aren't they cute? This design is a fast way to add a lot of seasonal style to an outfit, and works great for stocking stuffers.

Last up, we have a video tutorial from Off the Beaded Path (courtesy of The Beading Gem) to make a pair of Christmas wreath earrings using beadweaving techniques. These earrings have a lot of bling to them because of the crystals.

You can watch the tutorial below, or at the link above (click the picture).

I know I'm looking forward to trying these out! Won't they make great gifts? 

More Ideas:
22 Free Beading Patterns for Christmas Jewelry
Winter and Christmas Jewelry Tutorials
3 Awesome Beaded Wreath Earrings Tutorials 

Just a note: I'm not affiliated with any of these sites. These are just tutorials that I like. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Aging Copper Wire - The Quick Way

Hi, everyone! So, as I've posted about before, I have a bunch of copper wire that my dad gave me, in a very heavy gauge, and I still haven't done much with it. Here's the thing, though - I'm completely out of chain for my usual designs. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that, so I'm taking another look at this wire. :)

Namely, I'm looking at how to patina it. I know that good ol' Mother Nature can and will take care of adding a beautiful patina to metals, but she takes her sweet time with projects like that (sort of like me, come to think of it), and so I've been looking at some quicker ways to do it.

Pearl over at Beading Gem has done a full-blown experiment on two different patina solutions: gun blue (normally used to keep guns from rusting) versus liver-of-sulfur (a very common patina agent). It's a really interesting compare/contrast between the two. At the bottom of her post, Pearl included links to other reading on the subject of patinas, too.
From The Beading Gem's Journal.

The other post I wanted to share is a more DIY method of adding patinas to your work, courtesy of The Amethyst Dragonfly. She shares recipes for how to add a verdigris patina using household chemicals. The verdigris patina looks really neat!
From The Amethyst Dragonfly.

There you have it! I have no idea when I'll ever get around to using any of this, but now the information is available in one spot for me, haha. And for you, too! If you use either of these techniques, please post your results in the comments - I'd love to hear about it, or see photos of it, if you prefer. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

DIY Craft Room Organization

So, as I've posted about before, I'm always looking for more ways to make use of the limited craft space that I have. I'd like to share with you today some lovely DIY ways to organize your craft room. :)

The first DIY organization tip comes from It Happens in a Blink - a way to reuse a wipes container to make a cute storage box. The tutorial shows how to cover the box in fabric and make it pretty. Melanie used hers for her washi tape collection; I would probably use it to hold my macrame cord. You could use it for ribbons or other string, I'd bet! I could see using it in the kitchen to hold cooking twine, for example.

I'm only including two links in this post because this next one is a huge collection of storage tips from Better Homes and Gardens. Seriously, there are close to thirty ideas here, for both you and for kids. I'd be hard-pressed to pick a favorite, but I think I'm going to go with #20, which is an upcycled medical cart repurposed as craft storage. It combines two of my favorite things: reusing something old, and using something in unexpected ways. Check it out:

So, I hope this collection of ideas helps you out, the next time you want to organize your craft space. I know it's gotten my brain a-buzzing! :)

Friday, November 20, 2015

What's in a Name?

My new banner! Not bad for someone with zero experience in graphic design, eh? ;)

I got some feedback at my last show about my store name - specifically, why "BokBok Jewelry"? This is a great question, and one that's a little difficult to answer in the short time frame between customer rushes at a craft fair, so I thought I'd go more in-depth about it here. :)

The short answer (and the one I gave at the show) was that when I was young, my family had chickens and I used to call them "bokboks". When it came time to sell online, I needed a name and wanted something short, sweet, and fun - hence, BokBok Jewelry.

This is all accurate, but there's more - my very first memory, period, is of helping gather eggs every morning. I'm pretty sure that was one of my first chores ever, too. I found a photo my mom took when it was time to process the chickens, and I look two years old, maybe three. It looks like I was still in a diaper and using a sippy-cup. So we're talking young, here. (I'd post it, but as a country kid, I was running around naked and there's no way I'm putting that on the internet, haha.) So, to me, "BokBok" represents the work ethic that my parents instilled in me, starting at a very young age. It also represents personal responsibility - how many toddlers do you trust to carry eggs across a good-sized yard? ;)

(The yard was also filled with holes, as well as weird dips and rises, from both gophers and dogs digging. Just sayin', that wasn't an easy task, to traverse all that while carrying a shirt-full of eggs.)

I recently redid my shop and social media banner (the old one was a product photo I slapped up because I needed a banner). The new banner depicts a public-domain illustration of a certain breed of chickens with a lovely farm background. The house that's in the background? It reminds me of the second house I lived in, where I spent the years from ages 11 to when I moved out on my own, and it's where my parents still live. Their house isn't quite that big, but it's a 100+ year-old farmhouse out in the country in a similar style. That chicken picture ties in the "bokbok" thing as well as my family history and background, too.

(Speaking of old-timey things, I love-love-love vintage jewelry, either wearing it as-is or taking it apart to make something new, and I look at jewelry from other time periods all the time for inspiration. Everything from Edwardian and Victorian times, up through art deco, art nouveau, and even the hippie jewelry from the '60s and '70s. It's funny, because if you watch the trends, things come back around every 20, 40, etc. years. Life is a cycle.)

Basically, BokBok Jewelry's brand identity is me, and the name is tied very strongly to me and my past. Family's important to me, and hard work, and responsibility, and trust. I am very serious about all of those values. On the other hand, I don't really make "serious" jewelry - at least, not all the time - I like to make jewelry pieces that are fun and whimsical. I feel that the name "BokBok" kind of bridges the gap between those two ideas, but only if one knows the whole story. Which, now you do! :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How to Bulk Up Inventory for a Craft Fair

I find myself about to embark on a personal first - two craft fairs in the same month. I'm really excited about the opportunity...yet, at the same time, one idea keeps wracking my nerves - what if I sell too much at the first show? I have a lot of inventory on hand, this is true, but still...what if?

So, I'm trying to wrack my brain (instead of my nerves!) for ideas to quickly and easily build up a "what if" stock ahead of time. I make a lot of one-offs - also known as "one-of-a-kind" or OOAK pieces - and it's a lot of time and energy just to create one piece. I could devote my energy to making more, though wouldn't my time be better spent on designs that I could pump out quickly? I tend to think the answer to that question (currently, at least) is an enthusiastic "yes". ;)
Some of my design processes can take hours, let alone the time to build.
This OOAK cuff, for instance, was on the quick side with a design time of 30 minutes, and it took somewhere around five hours to craft.
That's a lot of time for just one piece!

As a result, I find myself searching my inventory for cute designs that I can easily duplicate or replicate with different colors. Plus, a bonus - this'll offer more variety for the shoppers at the show, and I can even offer more color variations in my online store, for much less effort and time than it'd take to create more OOAK pieces. I've found a few of my designs that are a little simpler than my usual statement pieces that I plan to remake in different colors, so that's my first tip: offer variations (color, length, size, etc.) on your designs.
Take this chevron necklace, for instance.
What if I used rose pink, mint, and gold?
Or maybe black, red, and white?
One design, endless possibilities.

Another way I plan to beef up my inventory is to make alterations on some of my designs. For example, I have some pendants made up already that might look really good as earrings. Some of my earring designs would be totally cute as pendants! I can add ribbon or chain to a bracelet design to make a necklace, or shorten a necklace design to make a bracelet. Get creative with your existing designs; will they work as a different piece? What if you flipped the design? (For example, by making "A"-shaped chevrons instead of "V"-shaped ones.) You can get a lot of mileage from your work just by playing with an existing design, and that's exactly what I plan to do! :)

Have you had to bulk up stock for a craft fair? 
What were some of your methods of doing so? 
Please share in the comments!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bracelet Tutorial Round-Up!

It's summertime, and there's no piece of jewelry I love more in summertime than a nice bracelet...or an armload of them. ;) Summer shirt sleeves are short or non-existent, and what better way to show off your arm candy than in the bright sunshine? With that in mind, I've rounded up five of my favorite tutorials for DIY bracelets so that you can keep busy making your own bracelets, cuffs, and bangles.

The first tutorial I have lined up for you is a cute way to upcycle brooches or large earrings into a modern paracord bracelet. DIY Jeweled Paracord Bracelet from Honestly WTF

This next one combines two of my favorite things: upcycling, and leather! Thrift Store Belt into Leather Cuff

The third tutorial I have for you is quick, simple, and is a wonderful way to use up leftover leather scraps and beads. (I hate throwing things away!) Both men and women can wear this Easy Beaded Leather Wristlet.

Make a cute bracelet from handmade paper beads with this next tutorial from Lots of DIY.

For the fifth and last tutorial, continuing my recycle/reduce/reuse theme (does anyone else remember those PSAs from the '90s?), here's an upcycled zipper bracelet found on ReFab Diaries.

Originally on Craft and Fun.

And there you have it! Five fun, fabulous, and fantastic DIY bracelet ideas to get you through summer. I know I'm feeling inspired!

Do you want bracelets the easy way? Shop my selection of handmade bracelets on Zibbet! ;)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Craft Space Overhaul! Part 5 (of 5)

This was a really big project! To see it from the start, click here.

Remember what my crafting area used to look like? In case you don't, one of the obligatory "before" photos is right over there. :) Everything was cluttered and unorganized, and there was a lot of valuable storage real-estate being taken up by boxes that should have been unpacked and/or stored in the attic four years ago when we moved in. The way that the table was set up, there wasn't enough room for me to sit centered and be comfortable, and the large surface area was a great clutter-magnet.

Over the course of this project, I learned some organizational techniques which I shared in the corresponding posts, and discovered quite a few materials (beads, mostly) that I had completely forgotten I even had. Some stripped screws stood between me and converting my craft table into a computer desk, but I took off one of the leaves to open up the back and am using it as a desk anyway. :P I also found new ways to approach organizing, and picked up some great new storage! There are still a few things I want to do with it, but I declare it "done enough". So, without further ado, here are my "after" photos...

New crafting area! I use my old computer desk (an antique writing desk that's been in the family for four generations now) as a crafting surface. I have my digital photo frame set up, along with a bucket for dry-erase pens and my DIY lightbox for taking photos. Some notes are taped to the wall.
POV of my crafting area. The glowy blue thing on the left is the photo frame. I have some wonderful light now, and can go directly from crafting to shooting product photos.
My little photo studio, now in a semi-permanent spot on the crafting desk. Also featured: a sneak-peek of a pair of feather earrings that I don't have listed yet. ;)
The newly cleaned-out and organized closet. I put the antique sewing cabinet thingy in there, but to open it, I'll need to pull it out, so I may need to find a different home for it. It has all my tools in it, sorted by function within its drawers. Speaking of drawers, I have my new bead-drawers stacked, too, and there are still a few boxes that I haven't gone through yet. I plan to screw jar lids to the underside of the cabinet so I can have extra storage there, and I saved the leaf from the table to salvage for more shelving.
Mounted on the outside closet door is a white board that's just been hanging out on my desk since Christmas. I have a Twitter promotion calendar with related hashtags to use, and a list of meals to make for the week is held on by a magnet. Side note: just the small, simple task of planning out the week's menu every week has been a huge time-saver for me, and we're eating healthy meals at home more often.
Finally, my revamped computer station. I minimized the surface area so that it'll be easier to dust, and the table is at a better spot for my wrists when using the mouse and keyboard. I have my little microbe plushie keeping me company, and my daughter added her own touch - a vintage My Little Pony that I saved for her from my own childhood toy collection. There's another MLP on my craft table, as pictured above. I have my printer behind the monitor, out of the way.
Like I said, there are a few other things I eventually want to do with the space (the wall above my crafting area, in particular, is just crying out for some sort of decoration), but it's good enough for right now! :) Hopefully this has been an inspiration to someone out there who has been looking to revamp their own craft room; if nothing else, I have photographic evidence of how bad it used to be, haha.

Update, 7/1/15: I finally went through two of the boxes that were still in the closet, and they were full of seed beads from my grandma. Check it out:

Baggies and shower hooks from the local dollar store. Beads are (mostly) organized by color, with a separate hook for some very sparkly beads in (relatively) small quantities. Off to the left are some other materials that were in the boxes, mostly shells.

If you have your own great organization tips, please share in the comments! :)

Related Posts:
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 1
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 2
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 3
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 4