jewelry

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Etsy Finds: Black Hearts

Published December 18, 2012 by kurolace

Hi! I have another set of good Etsy finds for you. This time the search term was one of my favorite accessory/decorations: Black Heart / Hearts.ย  I love simple black hearts, and also sometimes not so simple (like filigree). It think they are the perfect mix of cute, elegant, and sophisticated.

So here we go….

Silver Trumpet Jewelry

Silver Trumpet Jewelry

To start off the list is a nice charm bracelet with large black hearts from Silver Trumpet Jewelry. There are a few other nice charm bracelets in that store as well. $32 isn’t exactly cheap, but keep in mind that making charm bracelets takes time and lots of materials. I would prefer if this bracelet had either bright silver metal parts, black, or bright gold. These days I just am not a big fan of the aged-bronze/brass look. (Although at one point that’s all I liked)

CBDahlia

CBDahlia

The next item is a bit of a twist on “Black Heart”… Typically I’m not into these anatomically correct hearts, but I thought it was clever in this case, and the fact that these are carved is impressive. So if you like that sort of “sarcastic” type of thing, these black heart necklaces are for you! The shop is CBDahlia and each necklace costs $38.

fikashop

fikashop

Of course, we can always make our own custom items, embellished with these cute black heart studs! They’re on clearance too! Just $4.52, from fikashop. I’ve never used studs before, but I’m under the impression that they are relatively easy to use.

The Washi Shop

The Washi Shop

If you aren’t familiar with Washi tape, its similar to masking tape because of its paper feel. I love it. Mostly I use it for mailing / packaging items in a pretty way. So you know I just love this black heart, lacey washi tape! Its from The Washi Shop and costs $2.50.

ecofriendly notebook from thisisit

ecofriendly notebook from thisisit

For anyone who likes to horde collect notebooks like I do, check out this “ecofriendly” notebook from thisisit. Its 8.5″x5.5″ and costs $18. You can choose between lined and unlined pages too, which is nice. I love cute school supplies and stationary – even though I’m no longer in school, hehe. Seeing this notebook actually made me think about trying to do something similar by using fabric… hmm I’ll have to try it out and maybe make a tutorial! ๐Ÿ˜›

nurdanceyiz

nurdanceyiz

Oh, I came across this great throw pillow during my search. Its a little bit pricey, but really cute. I wish my room was a little bit more “in-theme” and that my bed was big enough to have another throw pillow on it! I think I might prefer it with lace instead of that leaf stuff… but still, this is very cute. $42 from nurdanceyiz.

GlitznGlass

GlitznGlass

Lastly I found this mug with pained on hearts. The hearts kinda look like they have eyes! I’m sort of a sucker for mugs.. lol, I think it might have something to do with my tea obsession… The mug is hand painted and costs $18 from GlitznGlass.

Well, thats it! Hope you enjoyed looking at the pretties and maybe you have gained some inspirations! See you next time! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Gemstones – Uses and Meanings

Published April 25, 2012 by kurolace

Oh, hi there….. ๐Ÿ˜› Sorry for being absent for almost 2 months. I’ve been kinda busy. In March, one of my cats had to be put to sleep ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Well, it wasn’t a surprise… he was 17 years old, diabetic, and also had cancer. He suddenly stopped eating, and after 2 days of no food, he could no longer move around on his own – not even to go the bathroom. So, my parents took him to the vet and did what had to be done…. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ RIP Maximilian.

Also I had to sort out my taxes. This is the first year I filed taxes by myself. To make it complicated, I have to do self-employment taxes since I’m technically an independent consultant when it comes to my job. On top of that, one of my former employers (from my time at the university) sent my W-2 to the wrong address, so I had to request another be sent.

Enough excuses… lets get down to business.

Today I want to write a little about gemstones. Attributing meaning to rocks and minerals is an age old practice. The most common place we see this in the modern era is birthstones. Birthstones are commonly used in jewelry. If you make jewelry, designing birthstone-themed pieces can be a good starting point when you are lacking design ideas, or if you’re making a gift for a friend. One thing about birthstones that I find interesting are the wide variety stones you can choose from for each month. Yep – that’s right – there are actually a lot more birth stones assigned to each month than just one….. But the one that you are likely familiar with comes from the English traditions – which was “standardized” in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers.

What’s Your Birthstone?

Wikipedia has a great chart which lists the birthstones according the month of birth, and there’s also a poem from the middle ages about birthstones. However, its missing some of the Eastern and Ancient birthstones.

Here’s a list combining both ancient and modern birthstones (US standard / popular listed first):

January — Garnet … and: Onyx, Quartz, Beryl, Jet, and Obsidian

February — Amethyst … and: Blue Sapphire, Hyacinth (yellow zircon), Lapis, Aquamarine,

March —ย  Aquamarine & Bloodstone …and: Diamond, Turquoise, Jade, Jasper, Tourmaline,

April — Diamond … and: Ruby, Red Jasper, Rock Crystal, Carnelian, Coral

May — Emerald … and: Chrysoprase, Golden Topaz, Lapis, Azurite, Agate

June — Pearl, Alexandrite, & Moonstone … and: Cat’s Eye, Crystal, Agate, Aquamarine, Beryl,ย  Turquoise

July — Ruby …and: Cornelian, Moonstone, Pearl, Green Turquoise, Sapphire

August — Peridot … and: Amber, Sardonyx, Ruby, Jacinth, Topaz, Moonstone

September — Sapphire …and: Pink Jasper, Rhodochrosite, Azurite, Star Sapphire, Lapis Lazuli, Zircon

October — Opal… and: Fire Agate, Agate, Tourmaline, Coral

November — Topaz … and: Cat’s Eye, Citrine, Coral, Garnet, Ruby, Zircon

December — Turquoise … and: Amethyst, Bloodstone, Malachite, Ruby, Tanzanite, Topaz

 

Gemstone Powers – Uses and Meanings

Remember those power bead bracelets? Different colors of stones / beads were attributed specific benefits that they were supposed to grant the wearer. You could often buy them up near the cash register in bookstores or novelty stores… I’m sure you can still find them in some shops (although, it seems to me that the height of their popularity was back in about 1998-2000). The only problem with such bracelets was that there wasn’t always a consistent pattern in regards to which stone bracelet represented what.ย  Sometimes the meaning was based more on the color of the stone than anything else.

I have an entire book on the subject of gemstones’ beneficial properties and effects. Its called Stone Power, by Dorothee L. Mella…. published back in the 1980s. In it she lists some 48 stones with their uses and meanings. Needless to say, that some of it overlaps and some contradict…. I’m generally of the opinion that things mean / represent whatever you want them to represent. But here are just a few of the more popular associations:

Lapis Lazuli – A spiritual stone, it was associated with power, love, and Universal Truth (Ancient Egypt)

Opal – Commonly believed to open one’s mind to visions, used for prophecy and divination (Greece)… also considered a stone of romance and love

Pearls – Associated with femininity and beauty.

Peridot – Believed to contain the power of the sun, and the ability to cure liver disease, as well as jealous thoughts (Ancient Egypt)

Obsidian – A stone of protection, often found in ancient South American amulets and lucky charms.

Malachite – Thought to ward off negative energies (additionally thought to be able to warn owner of impending danger by breaking in half)

Moonstone – Associated with moon magic… but also used to promote love. Romans associated the stone with Diana.

Emerald – Represents security in love… also thought to strengthen memory and increase intelligence.

Garnet – A protective stone thought to help heal emotional issues and also clear the body of toxins. Increases positivity.

Coral – Thought to destroy negative energy. It was used by the Romans to protect children. Also used to by newlyweds to protect against sterility.

 

Well, that’s all for now, since this post has gotten rather long! Hopefully this has been of some use to someone out there :)… Of course, you can find lots of additional information by looking up specific stones, or by looking into specific traditions (Modern vs. Ancient, Western vs. Eastern). I’m sure there are newer books out there than the one I have (which, btw, was kind of a random handout from my grandmother, lol).

 

How-To: Easiest Bracelet Ever

Published February 21, 2012 by kurolace

Whether you are new to making jewelry, or an old-timer who just wants to whip up something fast, these stretchy bracelets are the easiest beading project I know of.

A nice & short supply list

One thing that makes them easy is the fact that you don’t need any pliers or wire cutters or crimps, etc. You just need:

  • Some beads (I’m using black 6mm matte glass beads & flat diamond-shaped red glass beads)
  • Stretchy Beading Cord – This comes in different colors and diameters, so make sure you get the right diameter for the beads you are using.
  • Hypo-Cement
  • Scissors and a measuring tape or ruler

You should be able to find every thing you need at your local hobby / craft store, but if not, you can certainly find it online.

One of the most important things about making a stretchy bracelet is to make sure you make it the right length. It needs to be long enough to fit around your wrist comfortably, but short enough that it doesn’t fall off your hand. If you are making the bracelet for yourself, you can measure your own wrist to get an idea of how long to cut the cord. If you are making the bracelet as a gift, or to sell, then you can usually go by the guideline of about 7-7.5″ for most adults. (7.5″ is usually a bit too long for these stretchy bracelets though) Cut the cord to at least 8.5 inches just to be safe – this way you’ll have enough for when you make the finishing knot.

If you are using really big beads, you’ll need to make the bracelet longer. If you use really small beads, you’ll make the bracelet shorter. So as

I actually only cut the cord to 7.5", which was almost too short. I barely could tie the knot!

you string the beads,ย  keep checking the length of the bracelet by wrapping it around your wrist.

Once you’ve got it to the proper length, you’ll need to tie a knot. I use a basic square knot (right over left, left over right).

Now the awkward part… Before you pull the square knot tight, you need to put a dab of hypo-cement in the middle of the knot. Then pull the knot tight, and hold it for a few minutes as the glue sets. Try not to get any glue on the beads next to the knot.

Let the knot dry completely – say, about 10 minutes to be sure. Then try the bracelet on. Take it off, put it on, pull on the cord a little bit to make sure the glue & knot hold.

Finished!

If you used a small enough (diameter) cord, with beads that have larger holes, you might be able to stick the cord ends back through the beads. Otherwise, trim the cord down so that there is only about 2 mm on each side of the knot.

Voila! You’ve got yourself a bracelet. You can wear just one, or make a few to mix & match.

A few extra notes:

  • If you are planning to sell the bracelet or to give it as a gift, please take if for a “test drive” : Wear it for at least a few hours or a full day, to make sure the knot holds.
  • You can use a crimp bead & cover on the larger diameters of cord if you want. This way you cover the knot up.
  • Clean the tip of the hypo-cement off before trying to put glue on the knot. Having old, semi-dried globs at the end can make the knot look messy.
  • You can string a lot of bracelets and then knot and glue them all at once (This way you only have to uncap & use the hypo cement once). I use those clamp-paper clips (the ones with the black clamp) at each end of the bracelet in order to hold the beads on the cord.

Some of the many stretchy bracelets I've made.

Jewelry Photography Accessories

Published February 1, 2012 by kurolace

A simple set up using a wooden tray and black background

Browse through Etsy, DeviantArt, or any number of jewelry maker’s blogs, and you’ll see that jewelry photography often makes use of a variety of props in order to enhance the presentation of the jewelry. In the past when I’ve photographed my jewelry, I’ve only had the intent of posting the photographs on deviantArt in order to share my creations. The quality of those photographs were mediocre and often didn’t include any props other than a black flock background. However, recently I’ve taken an interest in listing my jewelry on Etsy.com with the hopes of someday selling a piece or two. In order to do this, I decided that I need to try taking my photography up to the next level. ๐Ÿ™‚

Today’s post is a summary of a few of the things which I’ve decided to use in my photography, and perhaps this post will give ideas to others like me.

Basic Jewelry Photography Equipment:

  • Cameraย  – In the past I used a Nikon Coolpix S203. It’s a true P&S pocket camera and fairly decent. It has a slew of presets and a few creative settings, but it doesn’t exactly have the greatest macro, and it doesn’t have the PSAM controls that I wanted. So I finally gave in and bought a Nikon Coolpix P7100. While it’s still technically a P&S camera, it sure as heck isn’t a pocket camera. Jewelry photography isn’t the only photography that I like to dabble in, so having this “pseudo DSLR” is ideal for me. The P7100 has great image quality – a huge improvement over my other coolpix camera. If you’re into photography and can afford a PSAM camera, I would suggest getting one – it helps when shooting macro. Otherwise you can stick with a P&S pocket cam.
  • Tripods – Yes, multiple tripods. You can probably get by with just one, but I like having both the tall, stand alone type (50″), and the tiny table top type (4″). I also fancy my dad’s gorilla tripod, which can wrap around things like rails to take pictures at fun angles… In case you didn’t know, having a tripod dramatically reduces the shake you experience when you take a picture without a tripod. Less shake = higher quality, sharper images.
  • Backdrop – A bed sheet, some card stock / poster board, or a blank white wall… each will do nicely as a backdrop for photos. I decided to go with the poster board method: I bought 2 sheets of black poster board and 2 sheets of white poster board. One sheet serves as the horizontal surface, and I tape / hang up the second sheet to be the vertical background. This gives the photograph a nice, clean background.

Additional Photography Props:

  • Jewelry Displays / Forms – These are available in sooo many different sizes and models. You can order some fancy ones from stores like

    My recently acquired props.

    Fire Mountain Gems, but you can also find them on the cheap at stores like Michaels. This past Sunday Michaels had one of those coupons for “25% entire purchase,” so I finally was able to buy a few displays. I bought a black flat necklace board, a white necklace form, and a set of 3 black pillars. I already also have a 3-tier bracelet display and 2 earring displays, but I use those more for storage of finished jewelry than as displays.

  • Trays / texture pieces – Trays can be useful in displaying the jewelry. I recently bought a wooden centerpiece dish from target for about $20. I love the way wood looks with a lot of my jewelry. I kinda wish my new wooden tray was a bit darker and a bit smaller, but its pretty nice as is. I also bought a pink ceramic flower dish.
  • Scarves / cloth – One of the quickest ways to add interest to the photograph is by using scarves or pieces of cloth. I like to sometimes spread the scarf out to cover the entire background, but other times I just use it as an accent around the piece of jewelry. Throw blankets and towels can work sometimes too. Today while I was at the craft store I saw variety of really nice looking plush / fur cloth, which Iย  think I’ll add to my “props wish list” ๐Ÿ™‚

One thing about these photography accessories that I’d like to mention is that I prefer finding things to use that I have other uses for as well. For example, the wooden centerpiece. I fully intend to use that as a centerpiece tray when I’m not using it in photography. The same goes for the flower dish (I’ll use it as a ring dish on my dresser), and the scarves. I live in a small, cluttered room already, so I can’t be adding too much more stuff to my collection!

Some of my scarves

A few other props I’ve seen used that I don’t currently have / use are: glass stones (like they put in the bottoms of vases), stones / rocks, nature, and fake flowers. Of course, if you have the space for all that stuff, then you’re lucky. The larger variety of items you have to use, the better chances are that you’ll be able to set up a photograph that matches the feel of that particular piece of jewelry.

I’m hoping that tomorrow I will have some time to go out in the backyard in the morning and make good use of the indirect sunlight. Trying to take photos indoors with flash or with light-bulb light tends to cause a lot of glare with glass beads.