January 28, 2013

Shopping Harbor Freight Tools for Jewelry Tools

Harbor Freight Tools is a great place for a beginning (or even experienced) jewelry maker to stop in once in a while.  I am lucky to have one very close by, but I try not to go there too often.  I tend to over spend whenever I'm there.  They have what I believe are predominantly Chinese made, off-brand tools and hardware - as well as some home goods, gardening supplies and hobby supplies.  It's like the dollar store for men - but obviously most things cost more than one dollar!

Since I went there on Friday and stocked up on some new tools, I figured I would share some of the things I

January 24, 2013

How to Make Simple Copper Stacking Rings

I don't feel like I've been very productive lately.  I've spent a lot of time on jewelry making the last couple of week's but have very few complete projects to show for it.  I hope I'll at least be able to look back on this time and think that I've learned a lot.

In any event, I am trying to learn.  I watched a free micro torch soldering tutorial on Craftsy earlier this week and decided I really wanted to give it a try.  I started crafting when I was in high school by making stained glass - so I don't feel intimidated by soldering, but I'm used to

January 22, 2013

Free Class on Learning to Solder Jewelry at Craftsy


Online Jewelry Making Classes 

Have you heard of Craftsy yet?  I signed up for a class over the summer, but I really haven't had much time to try the projects.  Today, I went to their site and noticed that they have a free class called Micro Torch Basics.  I'm not sure it's a great name for the class.  Yes, it does introduce you to using a micro torch - but what are you using it for?

January 16, 2013

Custom Garnet and Peridot Gemstone Earwires

Well, I knew I needed these beads for a reason!


They are perfect for the handmade ear wires that I love to make.  I've already made 5 pairs and

More Beads ... from A Grain of Sand

 More jewelry supply goodies arrived in the mail yesterday!  I have been eyeing these Picasso beads from A Grain of Sand ever since I first tried Kumihimo braiding and saw a bracelet that used them.  I am especially fond of the mixed Picasso 3-cut seed beads.  The colors are muted and vibrant at the same time (is that even possible?).  And each bead is so unique - it is really fun to  to go through them.  There are some beads that have a pretty earthy mottled brown exterior, with a slice that

January 14, 2013

Gemstone Beads from Etsy Seller Tiger Bead Store


I really didn't need more beads, but I saw Tiger Bead Store was having a de-stash sale and figured I would browse the selection.  I have never purchased from this Etsy shop before - and I'm not even sure how I heard about them, but I am friends with Tiger Bead Store on Facebook.

I'm very happy with my purchase.  The prices were good, the quality is very good and the service was excellent - my beads arrived very quickly!  They were well packaged too.   Plus, I always like it when I learn a clever new trick from a seller.

January 11, 2013

Setting Up Shop on Etsy with Paypal

One of my goal's last year was to start selling my jewelry online - not just at craft shows and jewelry parties like I have been doing.  I set up my Etsy shop NotaMona and I'm happy to say that I have had quite a few sales. (Yay!)

Copper and Citrine Ear Wire Findings

This year, my goal is to expand my online sales to include jewelry supplies, findings, and who knows, maybe tutorials.  One of the great things that came from my focused effort on jewelry making last year is

January 9, 2013

Baroque Pearl Drop Earrings on Labradorite Custom Earwires


I went into the Woman Cave yesterday expecting to make an updated version of the gemstone cluster earrings I made over the weekend.  I wanted to make the dangles closer to the ear wire and also play with some different size and shape gemstones.  My muse had other ideas,

January 8, 2013

Good Wire Cutter + Memory Wire = New Wire Cutter

I was cleaning out my shop yesterday and found this old pair of wire cutters.  They are at least 10 years old - probably more like 15.  But way back when, they were my 'good' wire cutters.  Memory wire bracelets had just become popular and I wanted to try my hand at them.  Yes, I knew that you should buy heavy duty wire cutters for it, but... well, ya know, sometimes you just have to find out first hand.  And so I did!


For whatever reason, these wire cutters have been kicking around for all that time in one of my boxes, but they are totally worthless.  Besides the divots in the metal, the jaws don't close evenly any more so you can't even use the good corner.  They are no longer in one of my tool boxes, but I figured I would at least share my lesson learned (the hard way).

And I never made very many memory wire bracelets either.

January 6, 2013

Gemstone Cluster Earrings


The Year of Jewelry Project (YOJP) has begun again - and I'm going to really try to stick with it for the whole year this time.  (easy to say the first week of the year!).  This time, the year of jewelry has moved to facebook.  I think that will be a really good place for it.  It is easier to post the pictures to facebook than the blogs we used in the past - and getting feedback or 'liking' an item is natural in that environment.  I'm going to be interested to see

January 3, 2013

December Holiday Earring Swap

 For earring swaps, I almost always try to learn a new technique.  I don't know why I put some poor stranger through my learning curve, but I do.  I guess I enjoy being surprised as much as they do.  This time, I wanted to try my hand at seed beading - something that I do VERY rarely, but really love the look of.  These earrings are inspired by the work of Miguel Ases.  I don't think his patterns are as unique as his use of color - but a 'real' seed beader would probably be a better judge of that than me.


For my first attempt at a finished pair of earrings, I think these came out pretty well.  I made a couple of

January 2, 2013

Twenty Thirteen... What will you bring?

A year of blogging and jewelry making is under my belt.  It has been hard to find time to keep with it the past two months with the holidays and other distractions, so I will try to plan better this year.

I greet every new year with optimism, and hope I can improve on so many areas of my life.  I make lists of things I want to do and places I'd like to see, people to spend more time with, things I would like to learn, and projects I would like to try.  If that sounds very detailed - it is.  And at the end of the year, I go over the list from the prior year to see how much I accomplished.  It's interesting to see that sometimes the path I thought I would take is entirely different from the one I found myself on.  Some things that seemed so important at the beginning of the year may have no significance by the end.  And it is through this process (and many others!), that I always learn something new about myself.

My blogs and jewelry making were an important part of 2012 and I anticipate that will continue in 2013.  Thank you for reading my posts and commenting when something resonates with you.  When I reflected on the past year, I spent a lot of time making earrings, dabbled in a few new mediums (kumihimo and seed beads), but most of all, I dared to put my creations and myself 'out there'.  I'm glad I did!  I learned a lot and think this will be a creative and exciting year.