Unfortunately, this year has been a bit of a creative struggle. You could say I've felt unsure of what direction to head. Beadwork? Wire Wrap? Stringing? All of the above? Something new like jewelry from silverware?
I've given myself a lot of freedom this year to lay off the blog and just create, and honestly I don't have much to show from it. I doubt that is the path I'll follow in the new year. And I guess I have had some exciting acquisitions lately that could give me new challenges and directions.
I recently acquired a whole bunch of new tools. Real tools - like drill presses and scroll saws and jewelry lathes. More dremels and dremel bits than I ever dreamed existed. Sanders and buffing wheels and hand tools. You'd think my father cleaned out his airplane hanger full of tools or something.
Well, that is what happened - and, of course, it's bittersweet. Lots of goodies for me, but the realization that he can no longer do the things that he loves due to age and health decline. That part sucks, but I am thankful that he realizes it and found homes for his collections.
So, with that said, I hope you will bear with me while I get my mojo back with silly fun things that take my mind off of the heavier things going on. I do have plans to move in more challenging directions in the new year.
This month's free tutorial at The Spruce is these crystal Christmas tree earrings.
The most fabulous aspect of these earrings?
The fact that I found a way to use some of my cane glass beads.
They are one of those things that I love - and I mean love, love, love. The shapes, the colors, the sizes - and despite having lots of them, I've never been thrilled with any design I've used them in. Sad to say, this is the design that I love them for! They make great presents dangling under my tree earrings. If you are looking for inexpensive strands of cane glass beads, try Fire Mountain Gems (FMG). They are all a single shape and size though. I like the assortments with lots of shapes, sizes and colors.
The trees are crystals and seed beads wired to a triangle shaped wire frame from FMG.
I was tempted to use the larger cane glass beads I have to make present earrings by buying some metal bow beads - but I'm on a bead buying diet.
I was so happy using my cane glass beads that I had to find and dig out my millefiori glass disks, which aren't quite as pretty, but still something else I love. I decided that if cane beads made great presents, then the millefiori disks would make great ornaments.
There are plenty of prettier millefiori beads, including these on Amazon, but my goal this year is to start using up my bead stash, so while the ones below are pretty, mine will have to do.
Making ornament earrings was super easy. Just needed a headpin, millefiori disk bead and bead cap of the right size. I like the idea that the ornaments don't have to match, but that may drive some people crazy. For me, Christmas is all about things that I love, so I don't think my ornaments have to match - just that I really like them or they mean something to me.
Add a bead to the headpin, use a wrapped loop to keep everything from turning and add an earwire.
I found lots of bead caps from my days of buying Boss' Bead Bags from Fire Mountain Gems.
Below is a sample of the small findings in a bag. I've bought at least five of these over the years, so my box of this stuff is way bigger now. I recommend the metal beads and findings in the bags, but most of the other beads are not worth much - unless you do garden projects or like wood beads. I often dig in these boxes of findings and charms when I am making projects. There are definitely things that I would never have purchased otherwise in there - plus a huge assortment of jump rings, clasps, earring backs, connectors... You get the idea.
I also made some simple sparkly crystal cone tree earrings. They don't get much easier than this - but I like the fancy headpin and I guess they are Christmas-y at Christmas time and just sparkly the rest of the year.
Took all of 5 minutes to put together.
I haven't used the crystal cone beads for anything else yet, but I couldn't resist adding the shape to my stash. I think they'll be useful for other projects. They are not really cones though - the end isn't hollow. Just cone shaped.
I'm sure I'll have a couple of more projects before Christmas since I'm pretty determined to stop thinking about making things and just start making them again. Oh, and writing about what I've made again!
What that means may be a surprise for all of us.
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Also, I Iove your comments! Have you tried these projects? Which is your favorite?